Glory of the sun
Leucocoryne coquimbensis

The genus Leucocoryne comprises a group of bulb-forming plants native to Chile. These have commonly been known as ‘glory of the sun’ since the 1920s, when plant collector Clarence Elliot coined the phrase.

Leucocoryne coquimbensis has purple-blue flowers, centred with bright yellow staminodes (which are sterile stamens) and, like all the species in the genus, these flowers appear in late spring, just before the plants die down for the summer. The long, narrow leaves appear in late autumn.

Chile’s bulb flora is very rich, and many of the species are endemic to the central Mediterranean region. The combination of the Atacama Desert to the north, the Andes mountains to the east, and a wetter temperate climate to the south ensures that many of these bulbous plants have evolved separately from their close relatives whilst also being prevented from spreading further afield. Chile has over 5,200 native species (around half are endemic), with many widely used in horticulture.

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