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Xerophtya retinervis - Black Stick Lily
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Xerophtya retinervis - Black Stick Lily


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Packet of 5 seeds of this extremely unusual South African species.

A highly specialised drought tolerant species, the Black Stick Lily spends most of the year looking as if it is dead. When the rains finally come the transformation is miraculous. The plant then has grassy tufts of leaves at the end of the blackened stems and produces a multitude of pink/lilac flowers which look like small lilies. So adapted to this way of life, the plants processes can go from almost completely shut down to full on in 24 - 72 hours after it has received water.The blackened stems are perfect for surviving bush fires, which is just as well given the number that occur in the areas in which it grows.

In areas where it grows it is common, but these populations are scattered. It's only real threat is from over-collection of the stems which are used to grow orchids and other epiphytes.A fascinating plant at all times, it is slow growing and very hardy. It is tolerant of neglect and extremes of temperature, being hardy to at least minus 12 Centigrade. When cold it does not like to be wet (given that wet conditions bring it into growth). Ideal for pot culture, you could even keep it in a dark and cold shed during the winter as this would keep it dry.Used by indigenous tribes as a herbal remedy for a diverse range of ailments, mostly concerned with blood based disorders. 

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