Agapanthus africanus

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African lily
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Agapanthoideae
Genus: Agapanthus
Species: A. africanus
Binomial name
Agapanthus africanus
(L.) Hoffmanns.
  • Abumon africanum (L.) Britton
  • Agapanthus minor Lodd.
  • Agapanthus tuberosus L. ex DC. nom. inval.
  • Agapanthus umbellatus L'Hér.
  • Crinum africanum L.
  • Crinum floridum Salisb. nom. illeg.
  • Mauhlia africana (L.) Dahl
  • Mauhlia linearis Thunb.
  • Mauhlia umbellata (L'Hér.) Thunb. ex Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Tulbaghia africana (L.) Kuntze
  • Tulbaghia heisteri Fabr.
  • Tulbaghia minor (Lodd.) Kuntze

Agapanthus africanus (African lily) is a flowering plant from the genus Agapanthus native to the area of Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.[2] A. africanus is more difficult to grow in gardens than A. praecox, and almost all plants sold as A. africanus are actually A. praecox.[3]

It has a short stem bearing a tuft of long, narrow, arching leaves 10–35 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, and a central flower stalk 25–60 cm tall, ending in an umbel of 20-30 white, or bright blue, funnel-shaped flowers, each flower 2.5–5 cm diameter.[4][5]


It was introduced to Europe at the close of the 17th century as a handsome greenhouse plant, and is hardy outdoors in the south of England and Ireland if protected from severe frosts. The plants are easy to cultivate and (in areas that have winter) are generally grown in large pots or tubs that can be protected from frost.[6]

Several cultivars are known, such as 'Albus' (with white flowers), 'Sapphire' (dark blue flowers), 'Aureus' (leaves striped with yellow), and 'Variegatus' (leaves almost entirely white with a few green bands). There are also double-flowered and larger- and smaller-flowered cultivars. During the summer they require plenty of water and they thrive on the margins of lakes or by running streams. They may be propagated from offsets or by dividing the rootstock in early spring or autumn.[6]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ PlantZAfrica: Agapanthus africanus
  4. ^ Hoffmannsegg, Johann Centurius von. 1824. Verzeichniss der Pflanzenkulturen 35. Agapanthus africanus
  5. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 292, as Crinum africanum
  6. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "African Lily". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 361. 

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