Fun Facts on Lily of the Incas (Alstroemeria)


So what about Alstroemeria do you really know? I sure didn't know they're called "Lily of the Incas" so when I used a random flower generator to pick the next flower to write about, I was shocked to see (what I've known it as) Alstroemeria. Upon researching these flowers, I realized they're not from Peru too! Let me note down a few interesting things I've learned:

  • They have a few interchangeable names like "Parrot Lilies", "Peruvian Lilies", "Lilies of the Incas", or "Alstroemeria".

  • Alstroemeria belongs to the Alstroemeriaceae family.

  • Alstroemeria shares the same order as Lilies under "Liliales".

  • They're native to South America like Chile and Brazil.

  • You can also find them in the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira, and the Canary Islands.

  • There are over 190 cultivars of Alstroemeria meaning there are over 190 different types of alstroemeria ranging in colours and detailing!





What I love about alstroemeria is that they're beautiful and gentle flowers once they bloom. At first, I didn't appreciate the look as most of my time using this flower was before it bloomed. I tend to keep my flowers closed to give my clients a longer vase life at home. For alstroemeria, they can last up to 2 weeks if cared for properly. But after many bouquets later, I realized they open up with bright and vivid colours. They carry deceivingly stiff petals that are also soft to the finger.




What do they look like?

  • Alstroemeria grows tall (Up to 1.5m in height!).

  • They grow in clusters of tubers that grow fertile and sterile stems.

  • Tubers are enlarged structures that are used as storage. They help with the plant surviving many seasons through drier months and winters, they hold nutrients and acts as a means of asexual reproduction.


By peganum from Small Dole, England - Alstroemeria brasiliensis, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48866166
  • At the top of the stem has a cluster of flower heads and leaves.

  • Each flower has 6 petals up to 5cm long!

  • Their stamens curve, stamens are their pollen-producing reproductive organs.

  • Altroemeria's petals are above the ovaries and their leaves are parallel, classified as an inferior monocot.

  • They come in many colours like pink, red, orange, purple, green, and white.

  • Sometimes you will see dots, stripes, and streaks of darker colours on the petals!









To be honest, I didn't think I'll be writing about Alstroemeria. I've learned a lot and hopefully, I can give you some insight into their symbolism by colour.


Symbolism among flowers and their colours are uniquely distinctive as they carry years of history and value. Sometimes we see symbolism that overlaps one another but the flower itself brought forth the meaning in its own way. We see them used in rituals, ceremonies, sympathy, or just for any occasion. Illustrated in copious artworks all around the world representing historical metaphors and relationships. For alstroemeria, the flower indicates bond, friendship, strength, and love. As for their colours, keep reading!


What is the colour's symbolism?


  • White: This colour shows love, strength, support and purity. Wonderful for weddings and sympathy flowers and arrangements.

  • It's also known to help overcome difficulties and serve as a reminder to keep your head high!

  • Yellow: This colour symbolizes happiness and energy. With its vibrant and bold colours, it's a great addition to any bouquet for friends and family.

  • I think these will be great for a grand opening gift as well since this flower also symbolizes support!

  • Pink: This colour brings out romance and playfulness. A soft and gentle touch to any bouquet, turning a friendship into something more.

  • Red: This colour symbolizes passion. Roses can be overused, mix it up with some alstroemeria. It gives the same meaning without denting the wallet!





More interesting facts on Alstroemerias

  • The genus was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (1736–1794)

  • The Peruvian lily is classified as non-toxic to dogs but it can still cause unpleasant reactions like GI upset. So keep them away if your furry buddy likes to sniff and eat anything in its path!

  • Alstroemeria is considered a Herbaceous plant since it grows in clusters of tubers. It can absorb water quickly so food colouring will show in white alstroemerias.

  • This flower has no fragrance so for those who avoid flowers due to their allergies, you've found the perfect flower for them!

  • Not all Alstroemeria has stripes on their petals


Don't forget!

If you live in the GTA or surrounding regions in Toronto, contact me Here or on Instagram/ Facebook for beautifully designed fresh flower bouquets!


You can also check out more of my work here!

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