Nerine bowdenii is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaryllidaceae. It is an herbaceous bulbous perennial, growing to 45 cm (18 in) tall by 8 cm (3 in), with strap-shaped leaves and large umbels of lily-like pink flowers in late summer and autumn. The common names of the species are Cornish lily, Cape flower and Guernsey lily. However, it is neither a true lily nor from the Cornwall or Guernsey, but originates from South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu/Natal, Free State, Drakensberg Mountains).
N. bowdenii bulbs are 12 to 14 centimetres (4.7 to 5.5 in) in circumference. The bulbs are "shaped like old-fashioned Chianti bottles". The plant has eight or more faintly-scented bright pink flowers with frilly tips, resembling finely-cut lilies. Because the leaves do not appear until spring, the species can tolerate lower temperatures than most species in the genus Nerine.
Nerine bowdenii is widely cultivated in temperate regions, where it requires warmth and shelter in colder areas, but is quite hardy, being able to withstand temperatures of −15 °C (5 °F). It needs to be planted where it cannot be disturbed for several years, and blooms best when the bulbs are crowded. The species grows best in heat and well-drained soil. However, it will not tolerate tropical or very humid weather. It is suggested that colchicums and cyclamens are good choices of companion plants to grow with this species.
The bulbs of Nerine bowdenii contain an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, called ungeremine which may be suitable as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Ungeremine has also been isolated from Ungernia minor, Ungernia spiralis, Zephyranthes flava, Crinum asiaticum, Crinum augustum, Pancratium maritimum and Hippeastrum solandriflorum. The bulbs also contain a number of alkaloids.
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- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Athelstan Hall Cornish-Bowden (born December 4, 1871 in Newton Abbot, Devon, England ; died December 4, 1942 in Somerset West, Cape Province, South Africa) was son of Admiral William Bowden, R.N. (1826-1896) and Elizabeth Anne Cornish (1842-1919). He was the seventh of 12 children (See: The Society of Cornishes). He became a government land surveyor in South Africa, eventually rising to the post of Surveyor General of the Cape Colony. He married Lillie Cameron Muir, daughter of Sir Thomas Muir (1844-1934), mathematician and educator. In 1899 or earlier, Athelstan sent some bulbs of Nerine bowdenii to his mother in Newton Abbot, Devon, England. In 1902, she sent flowers and bulbs from the plant to Kew Herbarium with a note requesting that the species be named after her son. After some confusion, the species was named "Nerine bowdenii". [See: W. Watson, "Nerine bowdenii", The Gardeners' Chronicle, third series, vol. 36, page 365 (November 26, 1904). See also: David, J. (2008). "The Nerine bowdenii story," Report of the Proceedings of a Hardy Nerine Study Day, pages 31-41, Royal Horticultural Society Herbaceous Plant Committee and the Nerine & Amaryllid Society.]
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- Rhee IK, I; Appels N, Hofte B, Karabatak B, Erkelens C, Stark LM, Flippin LA, Verpoorte R (November 2004). "Isolation of the Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor Ungeremine from Nerine bowdenii by Preparative HPLC Coupled On-Line to a Flow Assay System". Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 27 (11): 1804–1809. doi:10.1248/bpb.27.1804. PMID 15516727.
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