Botany Photo of the Day
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January 18, 2017: Botany Photo of the Day is being actively worked on. Returning soon!

Littonia modesta

Littonia modesta

Despite both its attractiveness and the year it was planted (~1988), I only noticed butter lily (or Christmas lily) in the UBC Alpine Garden for the first time last week. The epithet modesta means “unassuming” or “moderate”, so perhaps I overlooked it in favour of bolder plants in years past.

The Pacific Bulb Society has a Wiki entry on Littonia; it's worth visiting, as it shares photographs of this South African species as it grows from seedling to fruit. It also includes an image of its tuber.

The tendril-like leaf tips are described botanically as a “cirrhose leaf apex” (see Jim Croft's Botanical Glossary). Functionally, they act as they appear to act, helping the plant “climb” (or at least be supported) as it grows in height.


Littonia modesta - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiiths

Beautiful and a curiousity for those cirrhose leaf tips :-)

Up and blooming in the E.H. Lohhbrunner Alpine Garden now. Zone 9? I don't think so.

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