autumn autumn colours flowering bulbs garden photography hardy perennials

What’s in a name? Hesperantha or Schizostylis?

The beautiful Kaffir Lily doesn’t deserve the botanists playing around with its name. It is such a useful garden plant, graceful, colourful, easy, flexible and it even flowers at a time of year when few plants are doing so, from late summer through the winter. And they even make a good cut flower! Who could ask for more?

For years we have known it as Schizostylis coccinea, but in the last few years the botanists have got their claws into it and decided to call it Hesperantha. This simply confuses gardeners.

But one thing these botanists cannot do is change how beautiful they are. I hope you agree after looking at the set of photos of the cultivars we grow here at Avocet.



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Schizostylus – three pink flowers

Schizostylus must be one of the most neglected and under-planted bulbous plants there are available to gardeners. And now the poor thing has had its name changed by the botanist boffins! We should now be calling them Hesperantha. Their common name is Kaffir Lily. They hail from South Africa and are members of the iris family.

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The commonest must be S. coccinea “Major” with its deep coppery red colouring that zings in any part of the garden when the weather is gloomy from October onwards, often well into early spring.

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We recently planted this variety “Pink Princess” with flowers of the palest pink possible.

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Our latest addition is this small flowered pink with the evocative name “Fenland Daybreak”. The pink of each petal has the finest dark pink lines on like spiders webs. It is a real beauty.

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So there they are our three Schizostylus, three sisters one princess by name but all princesses in beauty.