Flowering this week – we still call it Urceolina peruviana

From the alpine meadows of the Andes, Stenomesson miniatum

From the alpine meadows of the Andes, Stenomesson miniatum

I was all set to write about this little gem of a bulb from our rockery, which we have always known as Urceolina peruviana but a quick net search tells me that it is now called (wait for it) Stenomesson miniatum. At least the Peruvian reference gives a hint to its origin from the alpine meadows of the Andes but do not be thinking that this means it is extremely hardy. In fact the snow blankets it in winter, protecting it from the damaging effects of freezing. In our mild climate, it is largely evergreen although the occasional frost can turn the leaves to slush. It is completely deciduous in colder conditions.

Whether stenomesson or urceolina, it is a member of the amaryllis family and we appreciate it particularly for its timing. It flowers now when pretty well all the spring bulbs have finished so the hanging (or pendulous) trumpets in orange with even longer yellow stamens are a standout feature. It has a reasonably long flowering season over several weeks and if you have sufficient to enable picking, it lasts well in a vase. Also to its credit, there is a not a lot of choking leafy foliage for the months following flowering. In fact there is not a lot of foliage at all which makes it tidy in the garden. The bulbs don’t increase at a speedy rate so it is a plant to treasure if you can acquire it.