GROUND LILY (Ammocharis coranica)

My first introduction to this very pretty, though in this case rather weather-worn, flower was in the garden surrounding the reception building at the Mountain Zebra National Park.

This Ground Lily – also known as Karoo Lily, Berglelie or Seeroogblom – must have looked beautiful in its prime, I thought, and it was a pity that we had missed that. In fact, I was to discover that this summer-flowering bulb blooms from about September to March and was fortunate to see several more blooming in the veld.

Ammocharis coranica is a perennial bulb that grows in summer rainfall areas where its habitat is characterised by lengthy dry periods and severe droughts. The leaves usually lie flat on the surface of the soil and the rounded inflorescence of pink or reddish pink, trumpet-shaped, sweetly scented flowers protrudes above ground after the leaves have appeared.

The genus name is derived from the Latin ammo, meaning ‘sand’ and charis, meaning ‘grace’, referring to the locality where the plants occur, as well as the beauty of the plant. The species name coranica is derived from the Korana Bushmen tribe, which used to live in the dry areas this plant inhabits. The profusion of beautiful deep pink, sweetly-scented flowers attract night-flying moths, which serve as pollinators.

Two interesting sources to consult should you wish to find out more:

NOTE: Click on the photographs if you wish to view a larger image.

16 thoughts on “GROUND LILY (Ammocharis coranica)

    • I love finding out the etymology of plant names and this one is particularly evocative, I agree. They are very beautiful flowers and a miracle in a way that they bloom during such a dry period.


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