Erect or twining rhizomatous or tuberous-rooted herbaceous plants. The family consists of some 4 genera and 160 species, all from South and Central America [FNSW]. Represented in the Hortus by several species of Alstroemeria and Bomarea. Sometimes included in Amaryllidaceae or Liliaceae.
Alstroemerias were popular Victorian garden plants, recommended for many purposes, including formal bedding: ‘[Alstroemerias] comprise plants which grow from half a-foot to three, and may be arranged so as to form a cone. I had a small round bed last season in fine display. It contained orange, white, dark velvet and white, rose, yellow, and pink-coloured kinds.’ [FC p.130/1850].
‘Alstroemerias have a strong natural tendency to variation, but will not cross with Bomareas as has been asserted. No limits can be assigned between species and varieties in this family; the following are the most distinct forms of the genus in our gardens; but many more are recorded and described, which remain to be introduced.’ 12 species or varieties are listed here. [JD]. The profusion of synonyms makes positive identification of some of these plants difficult. Much of this profusion is due to the great variability in form, flower colour etc. exhibited by many species, particularly Alstroemeria ligtu L.
Plants in this Family
- Bomarea salsilla (L.) Mirb. var. oculata
- Bomarea salsilla (L.) Mirb.
- Bomarea ovata (Cav.) Herb.
- Alstroemeria x vanhouttei Hort.
- Alstroemeria pulchra Sims
- Alstroemeria pulchella L.f.
- Alstroemeria pelegrina L. alba
- Alstroemeria pelegrina L.
- Alstroemeria ornata [Macarthur]
- Alstroemeria ligtu subsp. simsii (Spreng) Ehr.Bayer
- Alstroemeria ligtu L. subsp. ligtu ‘Barclayana’
- Alstroemeria hookeri Lodd. subsp. hookeri
- Alstroemeria aurea Graham