Arthropodium


 

Common name: Vanilla or Rock Lily

Arthropodium cirratum is a vanilla scented deciduous perennial found wild on rocky terrain in New Zealand hence its common names.


Their height tends to make them more suitable for large rockeries, although they can be used in small rockeries if desired.

The flower stalk often reaches one metre tall (39") and the plant spreads to around 500mm (18").

The stem is topped with many 20 mm(¾") diameter white six-petalled flowers, in groups of two or three.

Arthropodium flower head

The plant develops juicy edible tubers which are eaten either raw or roasted.

It is used for medicine as well as food, and has symbolic importance in traditional Maori culture.


It is best grown in well-drained sandy loam in a warm, sheltered sunny position with a pH ranging from acid to alkaline.

In the UK they will require a spot where the temperature seldom fall much below freezing.


Cultivation


Week 8:


Sow seed in pots / trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 10-12°C (50-55°F).

Germination should take about 7-10 days


Week 13:


When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in a cool greenhouse or coldframe

A year later plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, circa Week 21.


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