The Alstroemeria is a rhizomatic crop. That means that stems grow under the ground which branch. These branches grow upwards, and ultimately the flowers form on them. Because the underground stems continue to branch, this plant can remain in the greenhouse for years. In commercial Alstroemeria cultivation the replacement of the crop is usually determined by the crop’s economic yield. The Alstroemeria also has a distinctive leaf. The leaf is twisted on the vertical stem, so that the underside is turned upwards. The leaf’s axils contain no axil buds, so that the shoot above ground cannot branch.
Origin of the Alstroemeria
The Alstroemeria thanks its name to the Swedish lawyer Clas Alströmer (1736-1794), a pupil of Linnaeus. Alströmer informed Linnaeus that plants, called the lily of the Incas at the time, were being cultivated in the garden of the Swedish consul.
Besides making many efforts for the agricultural and cattle breeding sectors, Alströmer also travelled in the capacity of researcher to South America (Chile and Peru, among other countries). From there, he sent seeds of the Alstroemeria Pellegrina to Linnaeus in the year 1753. This plant grew at a high altitude and under extraordinarily light circumstances in Chile, with at least twelve hours of full daylight.