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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Littonia modesta

Littonia modesta

Despite both its attractiveness and the year it was planted (~1988), I only noticed butter lily (or Christmas lily) in the UBC Alpine Garden for the first time last week. The epithet modesta means “unassuming” or “moderate”, so perhaps I overlooked it in favour of bolder plants in years past.

The Pacific Bulb Society has a Wiki entry on Littonia; it's worth visiting, as it shares photographs of this South African species as it grows from seedling to fruit. It also includes an image of its tuber.

The tendril-like leaf tips are described botanically as a “cirrhose leaf apex” (see Jim Croft's Botanical Glossary). Functionally, they act as they appear to act, helping the plant “climb” (or at least be supported) as it grows in height.

3 Comments

Littonia modesta - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiiths

Beautiful and a curiousity for those cirrhose leaf tips :-)

Up and blooming in the E.H. Lohhbrunner Alpine Garden now. Zone 9? I don't think so.

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