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Beautiful ‘Pyjama Lilies’ at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

Years ago a stunning plant flowered during the rainy season in East Africa. We called it the Pyjama Lily due to its Pink and White striped flowers. I was delighted, the other day, to see that we have significant numbers of Pyjama Lilies’ at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge. There are still many pink and white forms and large numbers of pure white ones.

Here they are called Common Vlei Lily under the technical Latin Genus Crinum. Crinum macowanii is one of the commoner species within this genus but there are some 22 species recorded in the Southern African region. Some differences are virtually microscopic so I am not brave enough to postulate that my boyhood Pyjama Lillies were one species or another. Suffice to say they are all remarkably similar and a joy to behold

Lillies grownig at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge
Close-up of lilly at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

Vlei Lilies in Mashonaland West Zimbabwe

Vlei lilies are fairly widespread from Central Africa Southwards and occur in several different habitats. Given a choice, the species at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge prefers to have its feet in water when possible. This causes it to proliferate in run-offs and spillways, where it waits for the rains in boggy ground. It doesn’t seem to be a flower for picking for a vase display. Once opened, the enormous bell-shaped blooms last barely 24 hours.

The greatest danger and threat to the flower’s continued distribution comes from being dug up for medicinal purposes. Its bulb of the plant is the sought-after. Of course, this means it is a one off use with no chance of regeneration. Different parts of Africa attribute different curative properties to the plant. Anyone so interested will find that Wikipedia is very informative on the issue.

When I first noticed them this year, I made the mistake of returning in a couple of days when I expected more plants to be in flower—of two sizeable populations one had been completely grazed and flattened, probably by a herd of Impala. The other had flowered and “gone over” in what can only have been about 48 hours. Fortunately, the next time it actually rained, some more came out and, having learnt my lesson, I “got in quick”.

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Beautiful ‘Pyjama Lilies’ at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

Beautiful ‘Pyjama Lilies’ at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge
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