x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Plant Library: Seashore Lily

This tall, impressive plant enjoys humid conditions and tolerates salt.

Seashore lily thrives in humid conditions. Getty Images / Gallo Images
Seashore lily thrives in humid conditions. Getty Images / Gallo Images

Crinum asiaticum, giant crinum lily, Asiatic poison lily Crinum asiaticum and Hymenocallislittoralis are both members of the Amaryllis family. Both appear frequently in parks and landscapes throughout the UAE. Of the two, however, Crinum is the more spectacular and impressive, with leaves that will grow up to one metre tall and clusters of larger, more architectural blooms. Even its underground bulbs are massive, with some weighing as much as nine kilograms.

Crinum is relatively easy to grow and can be used as either a pot or border plant. While it tolerates full sun, it grows best in slightly filtered sunlight, where its sweetly scented flowers come into their own. These eventually develop into spherical fruits or seedpods. When ripe, they contain viable seeds for propagation. However, this is best done by division in winter or by separation of offsets from the parent plant.

Crinum enjoys humid conditions and tolerates salt, but overwatering may cause its bulbs to rot so allow them to dry out slightly between waterings. All parts of the plant are poisonous and may cause severe discomfort if ingested. The sap may also cause a skin irritation or allergic reaction.