Alstroemeria, also known as Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas (and sometimes Ulster Mary, a perhaps deliberate mispronunciation) is a delightful shape, resembling a small lily, and comes in a wide variety of colors, ranging from white and yellow, through a golden orange and bronze, to pink and red, including lavender and purple. Bicolored blooms are also available. Native to South America, they’ve been cultivated internationally since the middle of the 18th Century, when they were named after Baron Claus von Alstromer, a Swedish friend of the distinguished botanist and classifier, Carl Linnaeus.
With about 50 species, and around 200 hybrids and cultivars, alstroemeria is today a very popular flower in bouquets and arrangements, available year round. With the flower meaning of friendship and devotion, you will want to include alstroemeria in a floral gift to someone close to you, to show them the strength of the bond between you both.
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Delicate blooms sit atop long slender stems, with the foliage displaying an unusual feature (unusual in the botanical sense): the leaves twist from the base, so that what we see and believe to be the upper leaf surface is in fact the lower surface. This is referred to as resupination (think supine, or facing upwards.) If you’re arranging your own bouquet, you should strip most of the foliage, since it tends to yellow before the flowers fade. Speaking of which, alstroemeria will last for between one and two weeks if you follow the instructions in our article on how to keep cut flowers alive longer.
So, having read this far, you may be thinking of someone to whom you want to send a floral gift, to let them know you are thinking of them and how much their friendship means to you. Our favorite online florist, FlowersFast, offers several arrangements that include alstroemeria; our particular favorite is the Speak Softly bouquet, which includes white alstroemeria among roses and lisianthus.