Monday, 19 January 2009

Empress of Brazil?

Whether you call it Rooster’s Tail, Empress of Brazil, or plain old Blue Amaryllis, Worsleya procera (which you might call Worsleya rayneri…) is an impressive bulb.

It’s in flower now in the Tropical Centre, but you’ll to hurry to see it because it lasts for a few days only.

I gather French explorer Joseph Libon discovered this rare plant in the 1860s on steep granite cliffs in the Organ Mountains, near Petropolis in the State of Rio Janeiro. It’s a tough spot to live, but there is a constant supply of water from the spray of waterfalls.

The rooster-tail-like leaves are atop a ‘false stem’ up to 1.5 m high, and the lilac blue flowers are about 15 cm across. Quite a spectacular and odd plant in bloom.

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