Peruvian lily

Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria aurea)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Alstroemeriaceae
Genus: Alstroemeria

See text.

Alstroemeria (/ˌælstrɨˈmɪəriə/; syn. Alstremeria),[1] commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America.[2] Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centers of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except Alstroemeria graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.


The genus was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (1736 – 1794) by his close friend Carolus Linnaeus.[3]


Plants of this genus grow from a cluster of tubers. They send up fertile and sterile stems, the fertile stems of some species reaching 1.5 meters in height. The leaves are alternately arranged and resupinate, twisted on the petioles so that the undersides face up. The leaves are variable in shape and the blades have smooth edges. The flowers are solitary or borne in umbels. The flower has six tepals each up to 5 centimeters long. They come in many shades of red, orange, purple, green, and white, and they often have spots. There are six curving stamens. The stigma has three lobes. The fruit is a capsule with three valves.[4]

Cultivation and uses

Many hybrids and at least 190 cultivars have been developed, featuring many different markings and colors, including white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and lavender. The most popular and showy hybrids commonly grown today result from crosses between species from Chile (winter-growing) with species from Brazil (summer-growing). This strategy has overcome the problem of seasonal dormancy and resulted in plants that are evergreen, or nearly so, and flower for most of the year. This breeding work derives mainly from trials that began in the United States in the 1980s. The flower, which resembles a miniature lily, is very popular for bouquets and flower arrangements in the commercial cut flower trade.

Most cultivars available for the home garden will bloom in the late spring and early summer. The roots are hardy to a temperature of 23 °F (−5 °C). The plant requires at least six hours of morning sunlight, regular water, and well-drained soil.[5]

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • 'Orange Gem'[9]
  • 'Orange Glory'[10]
  • 'Yellow Friendship'[11]


Some alstroemerias have escaped cultivation and become weeds, such as Alstroemeria pulchella.[12] and A. aurea,[13] which are now weeds in Australia.


There are about 50[2] to 60 species[14] in the genus, including:[15]

  • Alstroemeria andina
    • A. andina subsp. andina
    • A. andina subsp. venustula
  • Alstroemeria angustifolia
    • A. angustifolia subsp. angustifolia
    • A. angustifolia subsp. velutina
  • Alstroemeria aurea
  • Alstroemeria bakeri
  • Alstroemeria brasiliensis
  • Alstroemeria chapadensis
  • Alstroemeria chilensis
  • Alstroemeria chorillensis
  • Alstroemeria crispata
  • Alstroemeria cuiabana
  • Alstroemeria diluta
    • A. diluta subsp. chrysantha
    • A. diluta subsp. diluta
  • Alstroemeria exserens
  • Alstroemeria garaventae
  • Alstroemeria graminea
  • Alstroemeria hookeri
    • A. hookeri subsp. cummingiana
    • A. hookeri subsp. hookeri
    • A. hookeri subsp. maculata
    • A. hookeri subsp. recumbens
  • Alstroemeria isabellana
  • Alstroemeria kingii
  • Alstroemeria leporina
  • Alstroemeria ligtu - St. Martin's flower
    • A. ligtu subsp. incarnata
    • A. ligtu subsp. ligtu
    • A. ligtu subsp. simsii
  • Alstroemeria longistaminea
  • Alstroemeria magenta
  • Alstroemeria magnifica
    • A. magnifica subsp. magnifica
    • A. magnifica subsp. maxima
  • Alstroemeria modesta
  • Alstroemeria nervosa
  • Alstroemeria pallida
  • Alstroemeria patagonica
  • Alstroemeria paupercula
  • Alstroemeria pelegrina - Peruvian lily
  • Alstroemeria philippii
  • Alstroemeria polyphylla
  • Alstroemeria presliana
    • A. presliana subsp. australis
    • A. presliana subsp. presliana
  • Alstroemeria pseudospathulata
  • Alstroemeria psittacina - parrot lily
  • Alstroemeria pulchella - New Zealand Christmas-bell
  • Alstroemeria pulchra
    • A. pulchra subsp. lavandulacea
    • A. pulchra subsp. pulchra
  • Alstroemeria pygmaea
  • Alstroemeria revoluta
  • Alstroemeria schizanthoides
  • Alstroemeria spathulata
  • Alstroemeria speciosa
  • Alstroemeria umbellata
  • Alstroemeria versicolor
  • Alstroemeria werdermannii
  • Alstroemeria zoelneri


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