Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
The sand lily (Veltheimia capensis) is one of many South African bulbs that will be on display this winter in the Palm House, the central section of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory.
It produces a spike of tightly-packed, pink flowers from a rosette of wavy-edged, sea-green foliage and can be spotted this week, perched on one of the window sills.
This relative of the hyacinth comes from the southwestern region of South Africa, where summers are hot and dry and the winters cool and moist. Many of the plants from this region grow and bloom during the more amenable winter months and go dormant before the searing heat of summer.
The genus, Veltheimia, is named for Count Augustus Ferdinand von Veltheim (1741‒1801), a German geologist.