If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Agapanthus praecox

Willd.

Amaryllidaceae

+ Synonyms

Agapanthus comptonii F.M.Leight.

Agapanthus giganteus auct.

Agapanthus longispathus F.M.Leight.

Agapanthus medius Lodd. ex Steud.

Agapanthus multiflorus Willd.

Agapanthus orientalis F.M.Leight.

Agapanthus umbellatus maximus Lindl.

Agapanthus umbellatus minimus Lindl.

Agapanthus variegatus Steud.

Tulbaghia praecox (Willd.) Kuntze

Common Name: African Lily

Agapanthus praecox
Cultivated plants, grown as an edging along a path
Photograph by: C T Johansson
Creative Commons License
Agapanthus praecox Agapanthus praecox Agapanthus praecox Agapanthus praecox

General Information

African lily is an evergreen perennial plant, producing a rosette of leaves about 50cm high from an underground bulb.
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local medicinal use.

Known Hazards

Agapanthus is suspected of causing haemolytic poisoning in humans, and the sap causes severe ulceration of the mouth[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southern Africa - western and eastern Cape.

Habitat

Stony slopes of rocky grasslands[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Bulb
Height0.50 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant mainly of the subtropics, in the tropics it grows best at higher elevations[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
Succeeds in most soils[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
] but it prefers a light very well-drained porous soil with plenty of leaf-mould[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires plenty of moisture during the growing season but it needs to be kept dry in the winter[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Another report says that it is drought resistant once established[
190
Title
The Dry Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Chatto. B.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1982
ISBN
0460045512
Description
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
]. It only flowers freely if it is in a very sunny position[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
]. The rhizomes are best planted only just below soil level - a mulch of gravel or stone chips will help to keep the crown of the plant free from excess moisture[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
].
Plants flower more freely in nature in the year following a bush fire[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
].
Hybridizes very freely with other members of this genus - some botanists say there is only one very variable species of Agapanthus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants respond very well to division, usually flowering very freely in the year after division[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. It is recommended that plants are divided about every 4 years[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants are usually pest and disease-free, although Agapanthus species in general are famous for harbouring snails amongst their foliage. These snails do not usually cause any damage to the plants themselves but go to neighbouring plants for food[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
The flowering stems lean towards the sun[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
].

Edible Uses

Root[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. This report is for the sub-species minimus. No further details are available, but some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal

Cardiac, stomachic[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
].
The plant is often used in traditional medicines[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. Xhosa women use the roots to make antenatal medicine, and they make a necklace using the roots that they wear as a charm to bring healthy, strong babies. The Zulu use agapanthus to treat heart disease, paralysis, coughs, colds, chest pains and tightness. It is also used with other plants in various medicines taken during pregnancy to ensure healthy children, or to augment or induce labour. It is also used as a love charm and by people afraid of thunderstorms, and to ward off thunder. Margaret Roberts advises hikers to put leaves in their shoes to soothe the feet, and to wrap weary feet in the leaves for half an hour. The long, strap-like leaves also make an excellent bandage to hold a dressing or poultice in place, and winding leaves around the wrists are said to help bring a fever down. Agapanthus contains several saponins and sapogenins that generally have anti-inflammatory (reduce swelling and inflammation), anti-oedema (oedema = swelling due to accumulation of fluid), antitussive (relieve or suppress coughing) and immunoregulatory (have influence on the immune system) properties. Although the precise activity of agapanthus compounds is not known, preliminary tests have shown uterotonic activity (increases the tone of uterine muscles).

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
], do not sow it too thickly so that it is possible to grow the seedlings on in their pot without disturbing them for their first year of growth. Give occasional liquid feeds to make sure they do not become nutrient deficient. Divide the seedlings up into individual pots in the spring following germination, grow them on for a further year and then plant them out into their permanent positions. Seedlings take 2 - 3 years to flower[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
].
Division of offsets.

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.