Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Blackberry Lily in Bloom

After 8 years of wanting to grow Blackberry Lily, one of my 2 year old plants is finally in bloom. As an herbalist I love trying to grow medicinal herbs, and this is one that was on my list to cultivate for a long time. The old latin name for this plant is Belamcanda chinensis, but it was changed to Iris domestica. Other common names include Leopard Flower or Leopard Lily. I learned about this herb while studying Chinese Medicine and found that it was grown in the North America after reading the book Herbal Emissaries, Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West. This is one of my favorite herbal books by Steven Foster and coauthored by Yue Xi.
The Chinese name for the rhizome is She Gan. It is used primarily to clear phlegm and heat from the throat and lungs, in other words to reduce infections with swelling and phlegm. It is a slightly toxic herb that should not be used during pregnancy. I have never used this herb, but maybe in a few years I will give it a try. I was able to get this plant started 2 years ago with free seeds from WinterSown.org, which is a great organization. The seeds were highly viable, unlike other seeds that I tried from a swap previously.
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