Agapanthus praecox

agapanthus and ferns

Scientific Name: Agapanthus Praecox
Family: Alliaceae
Also Known As: African Lily, Lily of the Nile
Origin: South Africa
Source: Considered invasive species. Several lovely specimens in my front ‘natives’ garden, not sure if they were originally planted or self-motivated migrants.

All around Wellington, Agapanthus blooms have popped up. I remember these exquisite cut flowers in the refrigerated room of the flower store at Chelsea Market in NYC, but I had no sense of the beautiful thick mass of leaves that forms their base. They’re stunning and elegant with a fireworks burst of blue flowers on a graceful long stem.

Their name should clue you in to their loveliness, as it comes from the Greek agapé (love) and anthos (flower) But Wellington considers them problem weeds for riparian zones, and they are considered invasive throughout New Zealand (and NSW in Australia). In spite of the fact they’re dominant and resilient little fleurs (or perhaps even more because) I’m quite delighted they’ve invaded my neighborhood.

Perhaps we should be looking more closely to its medicinal value. Originally from South Africa, agapanthus is considered to be both a magical and medicinal, the plant of fertility and pregnancy. Xhosa women use the roots to make antenatal medicine, and they make a necklace using the roots that they wear as a charm to bring healthy, strong babies. The Zulu use agapanthus to treat heart disease, paralysis, coughs, colds, chest pains and tightness. It is also used as a love charm. (from Plantzafrica.com)