Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tigridia pavonia

Mexican Shell Flower, or Trigridia pavonia, is a showy summer-blooming bulb in the iris family. Each large flower opens in the morning and lasts just one day. By late afternoon, it has crumpled and shrunk.

It is always a delight to notice these blooming, especially now, in late September, months after the initial bloom.

Somewhat tender, many people lift these in the fall and store like gladiolas. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we're thinking we'll just leave them in the ground and take our chances. Mulching would probably increase our chances, but we rarely get around to that.

Tigridias come in a range of colors, including reds, oranges, yellows, and creams. Among the species, there is even one that is a heavily patterned purple, Tigridia vanhouttei.