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Unusual flower

FerrariaI am interested in finding out more about an unusual flower I have growing in my garden in Petone, Wellington: Ferraria undulata from the family "Iridaceae". How common is this in NZ?

Ferraria is a genus of perhaps 10 species, mainly from South Africa. They are indeed from the iris family (Iridaceae) and are perennial, growing in spring from underground corms. Ferraria undulata is an old name for Ferraria crispa, which is the name it is now known as. It is commonly known as the starfish lily or the spider flower.

Ferrarias are grown for their frilly, speckled flowers, which usually come in shades of chocolate brown, yellow, purple or grey-brown. Flowers last a single day, but established plants usually produce a large number.

Like freesias, ferrarias are grown from seed or corms (divide in Autumn), but can be a little temperamental — they require free-draining soil, die down in summer and are only marginally frost-tolerant. They are not commonly available in New Zealand, but some specialist nurseries do stock them.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

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