Botanical name: Watsonia meriana Family: Iridaceae (Iris family)
Synonyms: Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera, Watsonia bulbillifera, Antholyza meriana
Native to South Africa, Wild Bugle Lily is an erect perennial herb forming large clumps. Quite similar to gladiolus, it has strap-like leaves, slender reddish flowering stems 0.5-2 m high, pink, orange or red flowers, underground corms and clusters of small corms (known as bulbils or cormils) on the stems. Leaves and flowering heads are produced annually. Stems, bearing 10-15 flowers on the main axis, are straight, erect, rigid, up to 3 cm in diameter and 2 m tall, often maroon to red in colour, unbranched or with 6 to 8 short branches. Brown spiky clusters of cormils form at nodes along the stems. Leaves are 20-80 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, light green, rigid, upright, shaped like the blade of a sword, tough, fibrous, growing in clusters of 6-10 united at the base like a fan. The stem carries small, sheath-like leaves. Flowers are curved trumpet-shaped, with 6 ‘petals’ (perianth segments) forming a tube in the lower section of the flower; usually orange in colour but varying from brick red, through salmon-red to dull pink, 5-8 cm long, 3-4 cm in diameter, arranged singly, 2.5-4 cm apart. Three stamens are arranged asymmetrically on one side of the flower, with anthers about 10 mm long, cream or purple. 'Petals’ are 1.7-2.6 cm long, upper one less than twice as long as lower and usually about the same length.
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