Belamcanda chinensis (synonym Iris domestica)
Plant of the month: August
Belamcanda chinensis (synonym Iris domestica). Commonly known as the ‘blackberry lily’, its name is derived from the clusters of shiny black seeds, exposed when the seed capsules split open after flowering. The flowers vary between warm shades of yellow and orange, often with red spots, giving this unusual plant its other common name of the leopard lily. Even though it appears similar to a lily, this native to China and Japan is actually in the iris family, and is often seen blanketing hillsides.
The rhizomes of Belamcanda have long been used to treat a variety of complaints. At present, studies are in progress to explore its potential against prostate cancer. If grown outside, plant the rhizomes 3 cm deep in well drained soils in a warm position.