In February I purchased a container of blackberry lilies at Gardenfest. Removing them from the pot, I counted 3 huge rhizomes; each had at least 2 “eyes” (one had 4) with strappy foliage already growing from most of them. Knowing they’d soon strangle if repotted in the container, I quickly planted them in my lily garden, hoping I’d see a few flowers by mid-summer……
I was so surprised last week when stems shot up in every direction with buds forming, one after the other. As you can see in a photo taken a few hours ago, each main stalk has multiple shoots with A LOT of flowers forming on each!
Each flower is open for a full day, from dawn to dusk. As the sun gets lower in the sky, they begin slowly rolling closed in a way that’s reminiscent of a wrung dishrag! Take a look!
By late summer, these tiny “dishrags” will be replaced by large greenish pods that split apart in the same way an amaryllis pod does, revealing seeds that look enough like blackberries to give the plant its common name.
As you may have deduced from the title, the moniker is not only inaccurate, but changed➡ In 2005, DNA analysis revealed it chromosomally to be fully “iris” not belamcanda as once thought. Although this taxonomic revision resulted in the new official title of Iris domestica, nearly all commercial nurseries still reference it as Belamcanda chinensis—good to bear in mind should you decide to buy one!
Until next time…..