A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Haemanthus deformis (Paintbrush Lily)

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

Aptly named, this odd-looking plant from South Africa does indeed resemble an upturned paintbrush. Technically, the “flower” is actually a tight cluster of small, white blooms. Each bloom supports its own cluster of bright-yellow anthers which sit on top of long, white filaments.close-up

The leaves are wide and lay flat on the ground—or over the top of a flower pot, as with our specimen—and they follow an annual cycle. A new pair emerges at flowering time, just as the old pair begins to wither.the-plant

The genus name Haemanthus is from the Ancient Greek for blood (haima) and flower (anthos), referring to the color seen in the flowers of other species within this genus: Haemanthus sanguineus and H. coccineus.

This white-flowered species is sitting on the sill of our Palm House, the central section of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory.the-setting

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