Peacock flower or Mexican shellflower is native to México, Guatamemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It has also escaped cultivation as an ornamental plant, and naturalized in parts of central America and South America.
This was a treat to see in the wild last October, although it was tinged with a bit of sadness. My former co-worker David Tarrant had traveled the road to Xilitla from Querétaro ten days prior, so he knew we would be seeing some of these in flower. What he didn’t know is that the roadsides would be hand-mown (with machetes) in the meantime. We were fortunate that some areas had yet to be cut. This was one of the few plants that hadn’t been mown down, so I had to make the best of it (the backgrounds in the photos are a bit messy for my taste). Still, the flowers more than made up for the lack of photographic choice.
Tigridia pavonia can be extremely variable in flower colour. The flower in today’s BPotD is about as red as the flowers can be, but flower colours can also be white, yellow, pink, or orange. Some have become named cultivars. Another property of the flowers is that they will open early in the morning and close by late afternoon.
For additional photographs of Mexican shellflower, visit the JC Raulston Arboretum site: Tigridia pavonia.
Bryant wrote about Tigridia chiapensis in 2012, with some general information about the genus.