A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Lachenalia aloides var. aurea (Cape Cowslip/Opal Flower)

Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.

Lachenalia aloides var. aurea is one of the many winter-flowering South African bulbs that can be seen at Wave Hill this time of year.

the-plant

The Lachenalias are commonly referred to as Cape cowslips or opal flowers and are very showy when in bloom.

There are more than a hundred species of Lachenalia, some of which, like L. aloides, demonstrate natural variations, which is indicated by the contraction “var.” in the botanical name.

close-up

These are most usually variations in flower color and, as the last part of its name (aurea) suggests, this one is golden-yellow. Clustered in several pots, it creates a wonderful splash of sunshine on the floor of the Palm House, in the center space of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory.

the-setting

All the Lachenalias hail from southern Africa and this particular example is native to the Western Cape.

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