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Muticoloured squill catches my attention in winter sun

This gaily coloured squill has the common name of Four-coloured Opal Flower. It's a Lachenalia, or Cape Cowslip, closely related to bluebells and grape hyacinths.

Each flower is banded with four lolly-like colours, hence the common name and the botanical tag 'quadricolor': used either as a species (Lachenalia quadricolor; e.g. by the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK) or variety (Lachenalia aloides var. quadricolor; by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew).

When treated as a variety, the species it is plugged into, aloides, means 'aloe-like' and you can see the the similarity in the fleshiness and colour of the flower.


The leaves of all, or most Lachenalia, are spotted. Which is, as it happens, a good spotting character for the genus, alongside the tubular flowers with that upper skirt of shorter 'tepals' (red, yellow then tipped green...).


We grow yellow and white flowered Lachenalia at the Melbourne Gardens - Lachenalia aloides var. aurea and Lachenalia ensifol…

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