Commonly known as “Poor Knights lily”, Xeronema callistemon and the related Xeronema moorei are the only two members of the plant family Xeronemataceae. This plant was first discovered in 1924 on inland cliffs of the Poor Knights Islands, and later also found on the island of Taranga (Xeronema moorei is native to New Caledonia, 1500 km to the northwest). Today’s photograph was taken in the Te Kainga Marire private garden. In David Tarrant’s words, “This entire garden is exquisitely landscaped with New Zealand native plants.”
Xeronema callistemon is considered a threatened plant in New Zealand, because of the extremely restricted range. However, because of its attractive inflorescence, it is becoming more common in cultivation. Two forms are taxonomically recognized: the typical Xeronema callistemon f. callistemon and the minor genetic variant, Xeronema callistemon f. bracteosa (links contain photographs and descriptions of both via the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network).
Photography resource link: For inspiration, the photography of Oregon’s Zack Schnepf.