Lily of the Incas

1 entry found.
Lily of the Incas
Common Name: Peruvian Lily, Lily of the Incas, Alstroemeria
Botanical Name: Alstroemeria spp. (al-stro-MEE-ri-a)
Decorative Life: 7-14 days.
Post Harvest Care:
  • At least one flower per stem should be open (petals are beginning to reflex) at time of harvest. Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution. The leaf removal process will not reduce flower vaselife as long as there are secondary florets present.
  • Should be recut above the blanched portion of the stem if this portion was not already removed at harvest. Remove the young buds of the first flower which will extend the life of the remaining flowers and stimulate more flowers to open. Ingestion may cause minor illness, frequent handling may cause dermatitis.
Harvest Instructions: Harvest the flowers above the blanched portion of the stemWhile it is common knowledge that this species can cause contact dermatitis, it has been only recently shown (2001) that there are two ways this problem can develop, though a butyrolactone compound and by calcium oxalate crystals, the latter is a common allergen found in many plant species such as dumb cane (Dieffenbachia).
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Liliaceae (lily family).
  • Native of the South American Andes.
  • Trumpet-shaped flowers in loose clusters at stem ends.
  • Plant is a herbaceous perennial and is classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
Availability: Year-round.
Flower Color: Many but not blue, petals often freckled.
Storage Specifics: Proper temperature for three or less days storage is 36 to 38 degrees F. Storage for longer than three days should be at 32 to 34 degrees F.
  • Nicknamed the "friendship" flower. Formerly a member of the amaryllis family, alstroemeria was thought to be related to species such as agapanthus, daffodil, onion, clivia and lycoris.
  • Scientific name in honor of Baron Claus Alstroemer (1736-1794), who brought seeds of this plant to Europe. He was a friend of the great taxonomist, Linnaeus.
  • Good for bud vases since there are so many flowers at different stages of development on one stem. Some cultivars are being grown as potted plants.
  • When recutting stems, remove any whitish or blanched bottom portion of the stem to enhance solution uptake. Removing excess foliage may reduce vaselife if sufficient flowers are not present to aid in solution uptake.
  • Avoid cultivars that exhibit yellow leaves. If flower petals become transparent and/or look water-soaked, these are sure signs of ethylene damage.
Recent Findings: Ferrante, Hunter, Hackett and Reid (2001) report that a chemical used to defoliate cotton plants (thidiazuron or TDZ) can be used to prevent the leaves of some alstroemeria cultivars from turning yellow. Presently this product is being considered to be commercialized and assuming it will be sold for this use, its announcement will be made in this Chain of Life Network Internet site. Chanasut et al. (2003) reported that removal of the young buds from the base of the first flower increased the vaselife and promoted the development of the remaining flowers to a greater degree than STS and/or sugar.