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A Lily by Any Other Name

A Lily by Any Other Name

September 16, 2015
Posted in: Nature | Reading Time: 2 minutes


African Lily - 205/365

Agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile or African Lily, are actually not lilies (of the genus lilium)  and are native to Southern Africa. The species genus is not clear despite having been studied intensely but a variety of 6-10 species have been recognized. They've become naturalized around the world, but can be easily spotted throughout all of Northern California. 

Agapanthus comes from the Greek word 'agape' which translates 'love' and 'anthos' which translates 'flower' for "love flower." It is not known why it was named this way. They're showy flowers that grow up to 6 feet high and vary in colors of blue, purple, white and even pink tipped. Used as garden and landscape plants, several species are winter-hardy and pest-hardy. Agapanthus bloom from late spring to early autumn.


African Lily - 206/365

Agapanthus contains several saponins and sapogenins that have anti-inflammatory, anti-oedema, cough-suppressing and immunomodulatory properties. However it is suspected for causing hemolytic poisoning in humans and the sap causes severe ulceration of the mouth.  So please don't pick and medicate yourself. Just enjoy their beautiful colors and the bees and hummingbirds who pollinate them!

But the real lesson here is:  a lily by any other name is an agapanthus.

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3 comments on “A Lily by Any Other Name”

  1. What a pretty flower!!! Mom loves lilies of all kinds! But there is one in particular (can't think of the name) that make our Dad become completely congested and his eyes swell to the point of being closed.

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

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