Alstroemeria (/ˌælstrɪˈmɪəriə/), commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centers of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except A. graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Alstroemeria aurantiaca.jpg
Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria aurea)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Alstroemeriaceae
Genus: Alstroemeria
Type species
Alstroemeria pelegrina
  • Alstremeria, alternative spelling
  • Ligtu Adans.
  • Lilavia Raf.
  • Priopetalon Raf.
  • Schickendantzia Pax
  • Taltalia Ehr.Bayer
Alstroemeria × hybrida in the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
Alstroemeria 'Saturne'


Plants of this genus grow from a cluster of tubers. They send up fertile and sterile stems, the fertile stems of some species reaching 1.5 meters in height. The leaves are alternately arranged and resupinate, twisted on the petioles so that the undersides face up. The leaves are variable in shape and the blades have smooth edges. The flowers are solitary or borne in umbels. The flower has six tepals each up to 5 centimeters long. They come in many shades of red, orange, purple, green, and white, flecked and striped and streaked with darker colors. There are six curving stamens. The stigma has three lobes. The fruit is a capsule with three valves. Alstroemeria are classified as an inferior monocot, meaning the petals are located above the ovary and the leaves are parallel.[2]


The genus was described by Johan Peter Falk and his thesis supervisor Carl Linnaeus in his 1762 dissertation Planta Alströmeria.[3] Linnaeus bears the botanical authority (L.).


The genus was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (1736–1794), a friend of Linnaeus.

Cultivation and usesEdit

Many hybrids and at least 190 cultivars have been developed, featuring many different markings and colors, including white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and lavender. The most popular and showy hybrids commonly grown today result from crosses between species from Chile (winter-growing) with species from Brazil (summer-growing). This strategy has overcome the florists' problem of seasonal dormancy and resulted in plants that are evergreen, or nearly so, and flower for most of the year. This breeding work derives mainly from trials that began in the United States in the 1980s, the main breeding is done nowadays by companies in the Netherlands. The flower, which resembles a miniature lily, is very popular for bouquets and flower arrangements in the commercial cut flower trade. These delicate flowers survive up to 14 days in water without any signs of shrivelling.[4]

Most cultivars available for the home garden will bloom in the late spring and early summer. The roots are hardy to a temperature of 23 °F (−5 °C). The plant requires at least six hours of morning sunlight, regular water, and well-drained soil.

AGM cultivarsEdit

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit, all with a hardiness rating of H4 (Hardy – average winter -10°C to -5°C) apart from 'Friendship' (H5: Hardy – cold winter -15°C to -10°C):

  • 'Apollo'[5] (white/yellow flowers)
  • 'Cahors'[6] (pink/yellow)
  • 'Coronet'[7] (salmon/yellow flowers)
  • 'Friendship'[8] (yellow flushed pink)
  • 'Orange Glory'[9]
  • 'Oriana'[10] (salmon/yellow)
  • 'Phoenix'[11] (red/yellow)
  • 'Red Elf'[12]
  • 'Sirius'[13] (pink/yellow)
  • 'Sonata'[14] (red/yellow)
  • 'Spitfire'[15] (orange/yellow)
  • 'Tessa'[16] (red flowers)
  • 'Yellow Friendship'[17]


Some alstroemerias have escaped cultivation and become weeds, such as Alstroemeria pulchella. and A. aurea, which are now weeds in Australia.[citation needed]


Image Name Distribution
Alstroemeria achirae Maule
Alstroemeria albescens Rio Grande do Sul
Alstroemeria altoparadisea Goiás
Alstroemeria amabilis Brazil
Alstroemeria amazonica Pará, Bolívar
Alstroemeria andina Chile, Argentina
  Alstroemeria angustifolia Chile
Alstroemeria annapolina Goiás
Alstroemeria apertiflora Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay
Alstroemeria aquidauanica Mato Grosso
Alstroemeria arnicana Goiás
Alstroemeria aulica Valparaíso
  Alstroemeria aurea Chile, Argentina; naturalized in New Zealand, Victoria (Australia)
Alstroemeria bahiensis Bahia
Alstroemeria bakeri Catamarca
Alstroemeria bilabiata Santiago de Chile
  Alstroemeria brasiliensis Brazil
Alstroemeria burchellii Goiás
Alstroemeria cabralensis Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria caiaponica Goiás
Alstroemeria calliantha Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria cantillanica O'Higgins
Alstroemeria capixaba Espírito Santo
Alstroemeria caryophyllaea Brazil
Alstroemeria chapadensis Mato Grosso
Alstroemeria chorillensis Peru
Alstroemeria crispata northern Chile
Alstroemeria cuiabana Mato Grosso
Alstroemeria cultrifolia Brasília
Alstroemeria cunha Brazil
Alstroemeria decora Valparaíso
  Alstroemeria diluta Chile
Alstroemeria discolor Valparaíso
Alstroemeria douradensis Goiás
Alstroemeria espigonensis Bahia
  Alstroemeria exserens Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria fiebrigiana Bolivia
Alstroemeria firmulifolia Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria foliosa Brazil, Paraguay
Alstroemeria fuscovinosa Brazil
  Alstroemeria garaventae Chile
Alstroemeria gardneri Brazil
Alstroemeria glaucandra Valparaíso
Alstroemeria gouveiana Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria graminea Chile
  Alstroemeria hookeri Chile
Alstroemeria huemulina Bío Bío
Alstroemeria ibitipocae Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria igarapavica São Paulo
Alstroemeria inodora Brazil
Alstroemeria isabellana Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay
Alstroemeria itabiritensis Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria jequitiana Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria jocunda Santiago de Chile
Alstroemeria julieae Minas Gerais
  Alstroemeria kingii Chile
Alstroemeria lactilutea Tarapacá
Alstroemeria landimana Brasília
  Alstroemeria leporina Chile
  Alstroemeria ligtu, St. Martin's flower Peru, Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria litterata Mato Grosso
Alstroemeria longaviensis Maule
Alstroemeria longistaminea Brazil
Alstroemeria longistyla Goiás, Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria lutea Tarapacá
Alstroemeria magna Valparaíso
  Alstroemeria magnifica Chile
Alstroemeria malmeana Brazil
Alstroemeria modesta Chile
Alstroemeria mollensis Coquimbo
Alstroemeria monantha Chile
Alstroemeria monticola Bahia, Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria nidularis Maule
Alstroemeria nivea Coquimbo
Alstroemeria ochracea Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria orchidioides Brasília, Goiás
Alstroemeria pallida Chile
Alstroemeria paraensis Pará
Alstroemeria patagonica southern Argentina, southern Chile
Alstroemeria paupercula Peru, northern Chile
  Alstroemeria pelegrina, Peruvian lily Peru, Chile
Alstroemeria penduliflora Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria philippii northern Chile
Alstroemeria piauhyensis Brazil
  Alstroemeria plantaginea Brazil, Venezuela
Alstroemeria poetica Chile
Alstroemeria polpaicana Santiago
Alstroemeria polyphylla Chile
Alstroemeria presliana Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria pseudospathulata Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria psittacina Brazil, Argentina
Alstroemeria pubiflora Goiás
Alstroemeria pudica Santiago
  Alstroemeria pulchella, New Zealand Christmas-bell Brazil, Argentina; naturalized in Australia, New Zealand, Southeastern United States, southern Mexico, Madeira, Canary Islands
  Alstroemeria pulchra Chile
Alstroemeria punctata Brasília, Goiás
Alstroemeria pygmaea Peru, Brazil, Argentina
Alstroemeria radula Brazil
Alstroemeria recumbens Chile
  Alstroemeria revoluta Chile
Alstroemeria ribeirensis Paraná
Alstroemeria roseoviridis Mato Grosso do Sul
Alstroemeria rupestris Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria sabulosa Valparaíso
Alstroemeria schizanthoides Chile
Alstroemeria sellowiana Brazil
  Alstroemeria spathulata Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria speciosa São Paulo
Alstroemeria spectabilis Santiago
  Alstroemeria stenopetala Goiás, Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria talcaensis Maule
Alstroemeria timida Santiago
Alstroemeria tombolatoana Goiás, Minas Gerais
  Alstroemeria umbellata Chile, Argentina
Alstroemeria variegata Minas Gerais
Alstroemeria venusta Chile
  Alstroemeria versicolor Chile
Alstroemeria virginalis Coquimbo
Alstroemeria viridiflora Brazil
Alstroemeria werdermannii Chile
Alstroemeria xavantinensis Mato Grosso
Alstroemeria yaelae Santiago
Alstroemeria zoelneri Chile


  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Alstroemeria. Flora of North America.
  3. ^ Linnaeus & Falk 1762.
  4. ^ Long Lasting Flowers
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Alstroemeria 'Apollo' AGM / RHS Gardening". Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Cahors'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Alstroemeria 'Coronet' AGM / RHS Gardening". Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Alstroemeria 'Friendship' AGM / RHS Gardening". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Alstroemeria 'Orange Glory' AGM / RHS Gardening". Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Oriana'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Phoenix'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Red Elf'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Sirius'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Sonata'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Spitfire'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Alstroemeria 'Tessa'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Alstroemeria 'Yellow Friendship' AGM / RHS Gardening". Retrieved 5 April 2020.

General sourcesEdit

External linksEdit