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What is a Blackberry Lily?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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A Blackberry Lily, scientific name Belamcanda chinensis, actually belongs to the Iris or Iridaceae species and is indigenous to Japan, China, and Korea. This plant is notable for its bright yellow, dark-spotted flowers that open late in the morning and then close in a spiral fashion later in the day. When in bloom, a Blackberry Lily gives the appearance of being an Iris and was classified as one for many years. Blackberry Lilies are perennial plants that range in height from 3 feet (1 m) to 6 feet (2 m). This plant has also been called a Leopard Lily because of its spotted flowers, although its name is probably derived from the blackberry-like appearance of its seeds.

A Blackberry Lily can be grown from rootstock or planted as a seed. The most common method of propagation is to divide and plant mature root stock. Blackberry Lily seeds should be planted several weeks before the final frost occurs to allow time for germination. The seedlings of this plant typically appear in early spring and blossoming generally occurs in mid summer. The brightly colored blossoms of this perennial are small but very numerous.

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Blackberry Lilies can be grown in either partial shade or full sun areas. Adequate soil drainage is required for these plants to prevent their roots from rotting. Poor soil will inhibit the height of this plant, but the number of its blossoms is usually unaffected by soil conditions. When planted in well drained, fertile soil, these plants will typically grow to their full 6-foot (2 m) height. Although the Blackberry Lily has a tropical look, it can be grown in cooler climates as well. In especially tropical climates, Blackberry Lilies must be replanted each year.

Blackberry Lily blossoms have only a one-day life span with a new blossom continuously replacing the previous one. This perpetual blooming process typically lasts for several weeks. When this plant is not in bloom, it is very plain and ordinary looking. Gardeners typically place the Blackberry Lily alongside other flowering plants whose blooming periods overlap it.

If the seedpods of a Blackberry Lily are allowed to remain undisturbed, the plant can sometimes become invasive through self-propagation. In order to prevent this process from occurring, the seedpods must be removed from the plant before they have an opportunity to open and release their seeds into the ground. Rather than being discarded, these decorative Blackberry-shaped seedpods are often used in ornamental flower arrangements.

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