Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Flower of the day: Schizostylis coccinea

Schizostylis coccinea  or Hesperantha coccinea

Hesperantha coccinea (river lily or crimson flag; syn. Schizostylis coccinea Backh. & Harv.) is a flowering plant in the family Iridaceae, native to South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It is a semievergreen perennial growing to 60 cm (24 in) tall, with slender lanceolate leaves up to 40 cm (16 in) long and 1 cm (0.4 in) broad. The flowers are red, occasionally pink or white, 30–35 mm long, with six petals; they are produced four to ten alternately on a spike in late summer to autumn.

Cultivation and uses
It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens for its flowers, used in floristry. It is only hardy to between −5 to −10 °C (23 to 14 °F); in colder regions it is grown under glass. It is sometimes known in cultivation as "Kaffir lily"; this name is best avoided as "kaffir" is considered an offensive ethnic slur in Africa.

Numerous cultivars are available, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:
  • 'Jennifer'
  • 'Major'
  • 'Sunrise'

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