These absolutely stunning and unusual flowers take my breath away.

Native to the distant mountains of South America, the Andes , once home to the ancient Incas they are called THE LILY OF THE INCAS.

They were named Alstroemeria by Linnaeus ( father of botanical names or tongue twisters) after  his friend Swedish Baron Karl von Alstroemer. ( why not more appropriately an Inca Chief?).

bunch of peruvian lilies
                                                       Bunch of Peruvian Lilies

The tubular form makes the  flower look very similar to a Lily ( see side profile in pic below) , hence the nomenclature Lily is accurate.

However almost all the species known to date are native to Chile and Brazil, thus the name PERUVIAN LILY is a mystery .

The flowers have many interesting and curious features . One of which is that  the leaves grow BOTTOMS UP. See the picture below, the base of the leaves twists so the underside faces upwards. Why do they do so?

turning leaves of the peruvian lily
                                    Turning leaves of the Peruvian Lily

These amazing  flowers are made of 3 petals ( smaller three in the centre)  and 3 sepals ( larger outer ones)  . What is interesting is that the sepals and petals have the same colour making it difficult to differentiate between the two.

These large and beautiful flowers of the Incas have however NO FRAGRANCE.

( philosophers/ poets are free to their interpretations)

The flowers are now  extensively cultivated  across the world as they exhibit a very long shelf life in a Vase.

flower and bud of peruvian lily
                                      Flowers and a bud of the Lily of the Incas

Numerous hybrids in a wide range of bright  colours  are now  commercially available and thus also called PARROT LILY . They are grown from clusters of tubers.

The flower of the Alstoemeria symbolizes friendship and devotion.

All the pictures were taken in the lovely Green House of the JW Marriott Walnut Grove Spa & Resort, Mussoorie. See the picture .

The wonderful and creative chefs of the Resort photographed with the Green House ( home to hundreds of exotic flowers)  forming the backdrop.

Home of the Peruvian Lily
                                                        Home of the Peruvian Lily in the background

Keep following these blogs as more tumbles out from the barbecue and green house in the days to follow.

Say Happy Diwali with potted plants and celebrate with Nature.

Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

16 thoughts on “LILY OF THE INCAS”

      1. Back in the 1980’s. I worked in the greenhouse growing plants but there was a florist shop attached. We’d get big boxes of Alstroemeria every week.

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