Common Torch Lily – Kniphofia uvaria

Common Torch Lily
Common Torch Lily

This perennial lily is from South Africa but has been planted in North America, New Zealand and Europe as a garden plant. It blooms in late spring (Here in Delaware it is in bloom in late May), and will grow in zones 5-10. It is rarely, if ever eaten by deer or rabbits.

The flowers of this plant have been occasionally used for food, and are reported to taste like honey! In South Africa an infusion of the roots has been used as a traditional medicine to treat or relieve symptoms of chest disorders.

When I first saw this lily there was a mound of grass-like leaves topped by brilliant red, orange, and yellow torches of color. Until I had identified, and began growing them I never realized that each ‘torch’ is made up of dozens of over lapping flowers. Blossoms open from the bottom to top, changing colors as they mature. We have hummingbirds and this is one of the plants that I have planted in hopes of attracting them!

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