Agapanthus = Agape “Love” + Anthos “Flower means the Love Flower
Known as the Lily of the Nile or African Blue Lily. Appears in blues and whites, blue being the most prominent colour. It grows everywhere here in NZ; on banks, road sides, streets, paddocks, through cracks on the footpath and seems to live wild and free.
First recorded in 1679 by the Dutch who cross bred it extensively. It now flourishes worldwide to the point it is now considered a weed in NZ . It has underground rhizomes that spread along the ground recreating itself. Due to its prolific seeding ability and its very effective germination , the agapanthus lives a long time and can germinate densely in all weathers; hot or cold, wet or drought, wind, salt, poor soils, shady or dry, pretty much tolerates all conditions. Easy to see why its everywhere.
The agapanthus has been known to be used as: an anti inflammatory, to reduce swelling and inflammation; an anti oedema, reducing swelling from fluid and an anti tussive, to relive and suppress coughing.
On the flip side: it is suspected of causing haemolytic poisoning or anaemia; can cause the breakdown or red blood cells causing fatigue, jaundice, gallstones and hypertension.
Agapanthus stems when broken drip a lot of gluey sap that not only sticks to your hands, it will stick to your clothes as well. I suggest wearing gloves when working with this plant, the bitter taste on hands can stay for days and chomping on chicken for dinner gives a bitter surprise when licking your fingers!
Topping the flowers before the seed heads dry will minimise reseeding and spreading.
A beautiful flower in mass arrangements for events, conferences or a bare corner of your home. A single blue flower wrapped in white as a token gesture for a thank you or catch up session.
Disclaimer: This article is written from my view as a keen gardener and florist for many years. Plant origin and medicinal values are a compact compilation of my research and personal usage. Gift ideas eventuated and are related to NZ lifestyle and celebrations.