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Belamcanda chinensis-Blackberry Lily

Belamcanda chinensis-Blackberry Lily flower and seed podThe Blackberry Lily is native to China and Japan and is not actually a lily- it is in the Iris family. Belamcanda chinensis is commonly called "Blackberry Lily" because of the cluster of shiny black seeds that are produced after the seed pod splits open.

Blackberry Lilies are hardy in zones 5-10 and produces fan-shaped leaves similar to Iris plants. These colorful flowers are 2-3 inches wide and spotted. The flowers may be small but I think they're very eye-catching and make a great addition to the garden. These plants came from a seed trade I conducted on GardenWeb and seeing them bloom in my garden I wish "Big Box" garden centers carried these and were readily available for Chicago gardeners. The only place I've seen Blackberry Lilies around here was at an upscale garden center in the suburbs that was an extension of a landscaping company.

Some websites recommend growing these in partial shade and in full sun. My experience with them in my garden tells me that partial shade may not be a great idea. The seeds I directly sowed in the garden the winter before last have only grown to about 4 inches while the seeds that I sowed in full sun are now large blooming plants. I sowed some of these seeds among my daylilies and now that the daylilies are winding down the Blackberry Lilies are providing some color. I think I'll transplant the plants that didn't grow much into the area where I have my black Iris growing so that it can do the same there after the Iris stops flowering next year.

One thing that I've found particularly interesting about these flowers is the way the flower petals will wind around themselves after they're spent like in the image above of the seed pods that are forming. I didn't try to pollinate these blooms and I don't know if any insects did the work for me because I didn't observe many, if any, pollinators visiting the blooms.


  1. These are such beautiful plants. I would love to be able to grow them. When I first moved here, I tried two years in a row without success, planting the most hardy varieties. There is much breeding going on and lots of interesting colours... I found these plants to be easy to grow ... I grew them in a more sunny location, but they don't do well in blistering hot spots (at least that was my experience).

  2. Sassy Gardener4:43 PM

    Look at those! I've never seen a plant wrap its petals up like that. So pretty.

  3. Your lilies are very pretty. Do you think they should be in full sun on the west coast? I find that some plants that say full sun do better in partial shade here.

  4. I haven't tried these yet, but this year I've got a nice Tricyrtis (toad lily) thriving in the front garden. I seem to think that Belamcanda is a bit iffy for me mostly because of winter wet. But looking at yours, it's tempting....

  5. I've never seen these. Very interesting and quite eye catching. I may have to try these!

  6. Oooh... I have never seen these growing in a garden so I didn't know that about the spiralling, spent blooms. That's way cool.

  7. Hi all,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. It is much appreciated.


    Thanks for pointing that out. When I blog I sometimes forget the different conditions across the country and the world. What is full sun for me is way different than it is for you in socal and you'll have to adjust what I blog to suit your local needs. You mileage may vary as they say. Thanks for pointing that out...I'll be more careful in the future with how I word things.

    Jodi and Jean,

    I got a Toad Lily this year but it hasn't bloomed and I'm really excited and also very nervous about the upcoming winter and how it rides it out. I don't think they're very expensive but if you get the chance to, trade some seeds that way you'll have a lot more plants and if they don't do that well you only spent a couple of dollars on seeds or postage if you get them in a trade.


    I think it's pretty cool too and I've been more intrigued by that than by the flowering. :0)

  8. I too have not tried these. But your ideal about planting them with day lillies is a good one. Will have to try that next year. Great ideal!!

  9. the orange dots are soo pretty .. the random spread actually looks like they were placed very carefully :)

  10. ..KC Garden Guy and Nabeel thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  11. Mrbrownthumb, first of all I want to thanks you for your visit to my garden. You're welcome there.
    I like very much the Belamcandas and for the first time I'm having them: four seeds are germinating. They took aprox. 15 days to germinate, but now are growing very strong, they have already 2cm.
    Best regards

  12. Anonymous2:40 PM

    Hi! I'm from South Africa and I looove my Leopard Lily. They do so well in my garden and are in the full sun/heat. Mine just multiply like crazy from the rizomes. I have the pink as well but love the orange.



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