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Eucharis X grandiflora Planch. & Linden 1853
pronounced: YOO-kah-riss hybrid gran-dih-FLOR-uh
(Amaryllidaceae – the amaryllis family)
common names: Eucharist Lily
Eucharis comes from the Greek word ευχαρις (eucharis), pleasing or pleasant. The X shows that it is a hybrid, and grandiflora comes from the Latin grandis, large, and flos, a flower. This beautiful lily is one of the Amazon Lilies, and is believed to be native to the lower Andean slopes of Columbia and Peru. It was named as a species in 1854, and it was Dr. Alan Meerow who in 1989 discovered that it was a hybrid. The common name of Eucharist (often used for the Christian Holy Communion service) is obviously an extension of the genus name.
It is a low bulbous plant with broad, glossy green basal leaves. The leaves tend to be evergreen, although drought and chill temperatures may cause the leaves to dry down briefly in late winter.
The inflorescence is a terminal umbel with six glistening white starlike or trumpet-shaped flowers similar in shape to the white narcissus, and borne on a 60 cm fleshy stalk. The heavily perfumed flowers are uniquely designed: except for the style, the floral parts are fused. The flower, about 8 cm across, is a narrow tube that flares into six ‘petals’. Each stamen has a flattened filament that arises from one of the ‘petals’.
The flattened filaments are fused part of the way to the stamens on either side. Together these filaments form the central trumpet that extends forward. The filaments are green when the flower first opens, and then fade to yellow and white. The six tiny anthers, each on a narrow extension from a flattened filament, are arranged round the end of the trumpet.
It can be grown either in the ground or in a pot, and can be grown indoors. Given conditions that it likes (it is shade-loving), the Eucharist Lily can flower several times a year.
Photographs © Donald Simpson, taken in Picnic Bay 2008 & Nelly Bay 2011
Page last updated 7th January 2016