Alstroemeria pulchella-Peruvian Lily

Alstroemeria pulchella on 5-12-17, #89-1.

Peruvian Lily, Lily Of The Incas, etc.

Alstroemeria pulchella

al-stre-MEE-ree-uh  pul-KEL-uh

Alstroemeria pulchella L.f. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species according to The Plant List (2013 version). It was first described by Carl Linnaeus the Younger (Carl von Linnaeus’s son) in Supplementum Plantarum in 1782. The “f.” after an abbreviation usually indicate the author was the son of an author with the same abbreviation.


According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, Alstroemeria pelegrina L. is the correct scientific name for this species of Alstroemeria. It was described by Carl von Linnaeus in Planta Alstroemeria in 1762… Of course, Alstroemeria pulchella is listed as a synonym.

Sooooooooo…… Of course, no other database is in agreement and Plants of the World Online may very well be correct and the rest are behind. Plants of the World has been correct so far when the others haven’t been updated.

Do I list this plant as Alstroemeria pulchella or A. pelegrina? The 2013 version of The Plant List says they are both accepted names… Are you saying that Carl Linnaeus’s son was wrong? 🙂 They were both right.

Interestingly, the Pacific Bulb SocietyUseful Tropical Plants, and Wikispecies websites show flowers of Alstroemeria pelegrina being a pink color. Hmmm… BUT, there are cultivars of Alstroemeria pulchella that also have pink flowers. I think for now I am going to stick with Alstroemeria pulchella as the correct name. Unless I see evidence of testing showing they are the same species, which then would lean toward Alstroemeria pelegrina being the correct name since it was documented first.

Alstroemeria is named after the Swedish botanist Klas von Alstroemer who was a student of Carl von Linnaeus.

Alstroemeria pulchella on 5-3-12, #89-2.

Plants of the World Online lists 125 accepted species in the Alstroemeria genus. The Plant List (2013 version), the genus Alstroemeria contains 128 accepted species names (plus 10 infraspecific names) 106 synonyms (plus 56 infraspecific names) and 24 that are unresolved. 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. The Plant List is no longer maintained so I had to switch to Plants of the World Online which was launched in 2017 by Kew (Royal Botanic Garden).


Alstroemeria 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 the 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 very popular florist flower, the hybrids have allowed them to be more readily available year round because the hybrids don’t go dormant.


Alstroemeria pulchella on 10-27-12, #125-3.

Alstroemeria pulchella 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 past 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.


Alstroemeria 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.

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 pulchella on 10-27-12, #125-5.

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.


2 comments on “Alstroemeria 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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