The alstroemeria flower – which is often called the lily of the Incas, Peruvian lily and parrot lily – is a genus of roughly 50 species which are native to South America – growing mostly in areas of the Andes. As their many nicknames imply, alstroemeria flowers are very similar in appearance to common lilies; however, there are a few differences to be noted. For instance, alstroemerias are noticeably smaller in size; their leaves are resupinate, and they come from tseparateeee families – the lily being a member of the liliaceae clan, while the alstroemeria flower belongs to the alstroemeriaceae family. These flowers generally produce three striped petals, three sepals and six distinct stamens. Despite having a rather low number of species to its name, the alstroemeria comes in a plethora of vibrant colors – this is mainly due to the 190 new cultivars that have popped up over time. These colors include the traditional white, pink, orange, yellow and red, as well as more uncommon hues of gold, apricot and lavender – just to name a few.
Many florists seem to prefer the alstroemeria flower to other types of blooms – including common lilies. This is understandable, because as a cut flower, these blossoms are very hardy and can last at least two weeks after being snipped. However, these flowers are not interesting for their long-lasting beauty alone – the history of their propagation is, in and of itself, long and fascinating. The roots of this flower can be followed to around the 18th century when it was named after a dedicated pupil of Linnaeus, Klas von Alstroemer. Becoming a well known botanist in his own right, Klas von Alstroemer was thought to be the first to bring the seeds of the alstroemeria flower back from South America. In more modern times, these flowers are most frequently grown in laboratories. An in vitro or meristem culture process is commonly used to produce more plants at a quicker rate, prevent viruses from developing, and to create new and exciting forms of this spectacular blossom.
The alstroemeria flower is best known as a symbol for friendship and devotion, and is often given as a gift to represent a longstanding bond between the giver and the recipient. It is also thought to symbolize good fortune, prosperity and wealth, and is sometimes presented as an emblem for good luck in new ventures and important life changes.