Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Belamcanda chinensis, the Blackberry Lily is a good midsummer perennial

Blackberry Lily because as the seedpods ripen, they split longitudinally revealing rows of shiny black seeds that don't look at all like blackberries. Of course they are literally black berries, so I guess the name is legitimate. The plants are easy requiring full sun, or at least 5 hours a day, average soil, and not a whole lot of supplemental watering. The ripe fruit are cool looking too and the seeds germinate readily which is either good or bad...AND the leaves provide some good vertical structure; they are especially attractive with the sun shining through them

When crossed with Pardanthopsis dichotoma, the result is xParancanda, which produces flowers in a wide range of colors on plants that essentially resemble Belamcanda. I remember once on a driving vacation when my children were children, finding an incredible colored xParancanda in a tiny Nursery way upstate New York (Watertown?). It had three spikes in full bloom. I cut the spikes off and gave them back to the sales clerk. They would've just broken off in the trunk of the car. She was outraged, almost angry, but the plant survived for years.

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