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Belamcanda chinensis (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Belamcanda chinensis (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones 1-24
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Belamcanda chinensis

Blackberry Lily
Iridaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials, Decorative fruit or berries, Flowers

Native to East Asia; forms fans of sword-shaped leaves from slowly creeping rhizomes. The plants are pretty when clustered in the middle of a summer border; their zigzag, 3–4-ft. stems bear sprays of yellow-orange flowers dotted with red. Each flower has six equal petals and lasts only a day, but new blossoms keep coming.

After blooms fade, mature seed capsules split open to expose shiny black seeds that look like blackberries (hence the plant’s common name); use stems in dried arrangements.

Set rhizomes 1 ft. apart, with tops just beneath the soil surface. Plant in fall everywhere except Zones 1–3, where bulbs should be planted in spring and dug up in fall for overwintering indoors. Divide infrequently for best show.

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