Crinum pedunculatum

Plant of the month: May

Reputedly one of the largest bulbous perennials in the world.  Mature plants can grow between 2–3 metres high with a 2-3 metre spread, with bulbs that are around 18” in diameter.  Grown for their umbels of large, showy funnel shaped white flowers, borne on leafless stems with long strap-shaped green leaves.  Known as the poison bulb because all parts can cause severe discomfort if ingested and contact with the sap may irritate the skin.  This striking lily-like plant is found growing along streams throughout tropical regions in South Africa and is naturalised in Australia where it is grown as street planting.  It used by the Aborigines to treat jellyfish stings!  Suitable for growing in a warm sheltered border in full sun with deep fertile humus rich, well drained soil.  It also makes and excellent container plant for a warm conservatory, as it flowers best when root bound and only requires potting on when absolutely necessary.