Nerine bowdenii is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaryllidaceae. It is an herbaceous bulbous perennial, growing to 45 cm (18 in) tall by 8 cm (3 in), with strap-shaped leaves and large umbels of lily-like pink flowers in late summer and autumn. The common names of the species are Cornish lily, Cape flower, Guernsey lily, and Bowden lily. However, it is neither a true lily nor from Cornwall or Guernsey, but originates from South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Drakensberg Mountains). Confusingly the name “Guernsey lily” is also applied to a related species, Nerine sarniensis.
N. bowdenii bulbs are 12 to 14 centimetres (4.7 to 5.5 in) in circumference. The bulbs are "shaped like old-fashioned Chianti bottles". The plant has eight or more faintly-scented bright pink flowers with frilly tips, resembling finely-cut lilies. Because the leaves do not appear until spring, the species can tolerate lower temperatures than most species in the genus Nerine.
Nerine bowdenii is widely cultivated in temperate regions, where it requires warmth and shelter in colder areas, but is quite hardy, being able to withstand temperatures of −15 °C (5 °F). It needs to be planted where it cannot be disturbed for several years, and blooms best when the bulbs are crowded. The species grows best in heat and well-drained soil. However, it will not tolerate tropical or very humid weather. It is suggested that colchicums and cyclamens are good choices of companion plants to grow with this species.
The bulbs of Nerine bowdenii contain ungeremine, a betaine-type alkaloid, and a number of other alkaloids. Ungeremine is an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, and as such may be of interest in research into treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Ungeremine also has been isolated from a number of related plant species, such as Ungernia minor, Ungernia spiralis, Zephyranthes flava, Crinum asiaticum, Crinum augustum, Pancratium maritimum and Hippeastrum solandriflorum.
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