Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella)(Peruvian Lily)

Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) on 5-3-12, #89-1.

Peruvian Lily, Lily Of The Incas, etc.

Alstroemeria pelegrina

al-stre-MEE-ree-uh  pel-e-GREE-na


Alstroemeria pulchella

al-stre-MEE-ree-uh  pul-KEL-uh

Synonyms of Alstroemeria pelegrina L. (7) (Updated 11-7-22): Alstroemeria amoena Salisb., Alstroemeria pelegrina var. flore-albo Van Houtte, Alstroemeria peregrina Ruiz & Pav., Alstroemeria peregrina f. alba Voss, Alstroemeria peregrina var. albescens Herb., Alstroemeria peregrina var. squamata Herb., Alstroemeria pulchella L.f.

Alstroemeria pelegrina L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Alstroemeria. It was described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Planta Alstroemeria in 1762.  

Now considered a synonym, Alstroemeria pulchella L.f. was first named and described by Carl Linnaeus the Younger (Carl von Linnaeus’s son) in Supplementum Plantarum in 1782. The “f.” after an abbreviation usually indicates the author was the son of an author with the same abbreviation.

The name Alstroemeria pulchella is still widely used and no doubt will continue to be. It is hard to get everyone to make the change because many don’t know. I noticed the name changed several years ago but didn’t change it in case it changed back again. Sometimes that happens… When I updated this page on January 5, 2021, I noticed it hadn’t changed back so I thought I better make a few changes… 

Wikipedia says the genus, Alstroemeria L., was actually named and described by both Johan Peter Faulk and his thesis supervisor Carl von Linnaeus in his dissertation Planta Alströmeria in 1762. For some reason, Linnaeus bears the botanical authority…  Apparently, not only was Mr. Faulk a student of Linnaeus, he was also his son’s tutor. He also defended his dissertation in 1762 but I guess to no avail. After working in Russia, sadly Mr. Faulk took his life. The genus Falkia is named after him. The genus was named after Class Alströmer, a Swedish baron naturalist who was a student and friend of Linnaeus. He traveled throughout southern Europe collecting plants for Linnaeus.

As of 11-7-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 128 species in the Alstroemeria genus. It is a member of the plant family Alstroemeriaceae with 4 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Interestingly, the Pacific Bulb SocietyUseful Tropical Plants, and Wikipedia show flowers of Alstroemeria pelegrina being a pink color. Hmmm… BUT, there are cultivars of Alstroemeria pulchella that also have pink flowers. It is weird how we can think a species is “like so” because its flowers are a different color, then the name changes and becomes a synonym of a species with flowers that are another color. Just goes to show you, I suppose, flower color doesn’t always mean it is a different species… 


Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) on 5-3-12, #89-2.

Many hybrids and around 200 cultivars have been developed. All species are perennial except for Alstroemeria graminea which is native to the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) (Peruvian Lily) on 5-3-12, #89-3.

Plants of the Alstroemeria genus are all native to South America, mainly central Chile and eastern Brazil. The species from Chile are winter-growing (summer dormant), and the species from Brazil are summer-growing (winter dormant).

According to Wikipedia, many hybrids and at least 190 cultivars have been developed with a wide color range. Most of the hybrids produced today are crosses between the summer and winter dormant species. Since the Alstroemeria is a very popular florist flower, the hybrids have allowed them to be more readily available year-round because the hybrids don’t go dormant.

Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) on 10-27-12, #125-3.

Alstroemeria pelegrina is native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. They have naturalized in several other countries and several southern states in the U.S.

My Alstroemeria was given to me by my good friend, Mary Botler, in Leland, Mississippi. This was one of several plants she gave to me by the hand’s full. I did research and found that the flowers looked similar to Alstroemeria pulchella and Alstroemeria viridiflora. As strange as anything, I can not remember when my Alstroemeria went dormant. I used to swear they didn’t, but five years have passed since I first wrote this page and I am not going to swear by it now. Since the hybrids don’t go dormant, it is even possible that my plants were a hybrid… I know they didn’t go dormant in the summer, though. Then I moved back to Missouri in February 2013, so I don’t know what happened after that. I sold the mansion in Mississippi to a group who renovated the house and turned it into The Thompson House Bed and Breakfast. Mary Botler was one of the members of the group.

Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) on 10-27-12, #125-4.

I contacted Mary Botler a while back and asked her when her Alstroemeria went dormant. Her reply was that they were dormant then. It confirmed they are Alstroemeria pulchella, which of course, is now a synonym of A. pelegrina.

The Alstroemeria symbolizes friendship and devotion. The flower twists which symbolizes the trials and tribulations of friendship. It is also supposed to symbolize wealth, prosperity, and fortune.

One interesting thing is how the leaves twist as they come from the stem and actually grow upside-down.

One other thing you will want to remember about Alstroemeria… Apparently, they have “explosive” seed pods that can send seeds 5-7 feet away. They will appear out of nowhere sometimes because if the pods happen to open while you are working around them, you can carry the seeds to other parts of your yard.

FAMILY: Alstroemeriaceae
ZONES: USDA Zones 7a-10b (0-35 °F)
LIGHT: Sun to part shade
FLOWERS: Various colors in mid-summer
SOIL: Needs a well-draining soil
WATER: Prefers regular watering, especially during dry periods. Plants can become dormant during the summer if the soil is too hot and dry.

Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella) on 10-27-12, #125-5.

I worked with a florist when I lived in Mississippi and we decorated a lot of weddings. I always liked bringing home the Alstroemeria flowers after the weddings because they lasted a very long time as a cut flower. I really liked the bronze-colored hybrids…

Even when not flowering, the foliage always looked really nice in the back yard.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. Take note, when reading about this species, it could be listed as either Alstroemeria pelegrina or Alstroemeria pulchella. Some websites may also have both species listed because they haven’t updated. The link I had for Dave’s Garden for A. pulchella changed to A. psittacina… Hmmm… Makes me wonder…


2 comments on “Alstroemeria pelegrina (Syn. A. pulchella)(Peruvian Lily)

  1. Anton says:

    We always had loads of this one in the shade behind our pool house in our garden when I was growing up. Brings fond memories. Thanks for showing. It never seemed to spread from there but was pretty dense and weedy in that area. I always liked it, very carefree wonderful thing. In those days there weren’t too many Alstroemerias to choose from In Africa, and I think this one arrived via the neighbours garden as did many other exotic things. My parents only grew native trees, fowers and shrubs so this was something of a secrete exotic pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alstroemeria has certainly come a long way in the past few years. I worked with a couple who did weddings and she was a GREAT florist as well. Alstroemeria was one of the most popular cut flowers because they lasted a long time and came in a variety of colors. The light browns and dark reds were my favorite. Thanks for the comment!


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