Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spear Lilies in Seed.

 Doryanthes palmeri
My neighbour’s spear lily flowered magnificently last November.

It's now producing loads of seed, so it's time to to collect ready for spring sowing, if you would like to grow this spectacular local plant.

Very adaptable plants whose only inflexible requirement is well-drained soil, they grow exposed to the west as with my neighbour’s plant, on very exposed (but damp) east-facing sites as we see at Cunningham’s Gap...

...or in dappled shade as in Goomburra national park.
The leaves of Doryanthes species produce high-quality fibre, so are a good choice for those who want to grow plants for basketry and other crafts.
There are a few of these native agaves growing around Toowoomba - though I find it a sad commentary on the state of native plant-growing that we see considerably more specimens here of its cousin the Gymea lily, Doryanthes excelsa. Gymea lilies are more popular in gardens not because they are better plants, but because species which grow naturally around Sydney are inevitably better-known and easier to buy in our nurseries than are our own natives.

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