“Plant of the Week” is part of a series of fact sheets I did for a horticulture class I took at Oregon State University on herbaceous perennials (HORT 255). I thought others might also be interested and we could have a discussion on our experiences with some of these plants.
PLANT OF THE WEEK – Eucomis
|PLANT:||Eucomis, Pineapple Lily. Family: Hyacinthaceae|
|H x W||Plant is about 6” wide and 20” high. Bloom is 5 to 12in tall|
|CULTURE||From South Africa. The name Eucomis is derived from the Greek eukomos meaning beautifully haired, from the Greek eu- meaning well and kome hair of the head, and refers to the tuft of leaf-like bracts that crown the inflorescence
|SITING AND USES IN THE LANDSCAPE||Useful in bright sun with regular water during active growth, but protect from saturating winter-to-spring rains. (e.g. Plant under a roof overhang or in pots.) Make a long lasting cut flower.
|FLOWERS||Tropical-looking, fleshy leaves with flower spikes that appear to be miniature “pineapples” at the top of each stem. Hundreds of waxy, one inch starry flowers are perfectly shaped, mostly edged in maroon and begin opening from the bottom up.
|MAINTENANCE AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT||Plant bulbs after danger of deep frost is past and soil begins to warm, spacing 6 to 10 inches apart, covered with 4 inches of fluffy, amended soil. Lightly mulch after top growth begins. Bulbs emerge late in spring, grow rapidly and flower for 6 weeks with interesting seedpods continuing to frost. Full sun preferred, but light shade in hot climates is acceptable. It is perfectly normal for leaves to “wilt” a bit during the hot midday, but they perk up again the next morning. Propagation: offsets can be detached from the mother bulb in fall, taking an additional two years before the babies flower.
|ETHNOBOTANICAL USES||The genus Eucomis (Hyacinthaceae) consists of 10 species that are extensively used in African traditional medicine. Evidence from traditional medicine usage shows wide utilization of this genus for ailments such as respiratory, venereal diseases, rheumatism as well as kidney and bladder infections. Pharmacological screening reported antimicrobial, antiplasmodial, antitumor, cytotoxic, phytotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties|
|SOURCES:||●DiSabato-Aust, Tracy (2006-07-24). The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques (Kindle Location 4273). Timber Press.
●Armitage, Allan M. (2008-05-01). Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes (3rd Edition) (Kindle Locations 11501-11502). Motorbooks International.
● B&D Lillies website