This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
This genus belongs to a distinct section of the Amaryllideae, the members of which, instead of having bulbs, have fleshy fibrous roots, something in the way of Asparagus. The genus under consideration, as well as some allied genera, belong more properly to the greenhouse; but there are nevertheless a few species almost, if not quite, hardy. They are tall handsome plants with true leafy stems and terminal umbels of gaily coloured flowers. Leaves usually linear or lanceolate and re-supinate, or inverted in position by the twisting of the petiole. Perianth regular, 6-parted, campanulate, interior segments narrower, two of which are somewhat tubulose at the base. Stamens included within the perianth, and inserted with it. Stigma trifid; seeds numerous. All the species are from
South America. Named in honour of Alstromer, a Swedish botanist.
One of the handsomest and hardiest species is A. aiirea, also called A. aurantiaca. An erect plant about 3 feet high with lanceolate reversed obtuse leaves. Flowers numerous, in a terminal umbel, the outer perianth-segments orange-coloured, the inner narrower and also orange-coloured, but the two upper ones striped with red. A. psittacina received its name in consequence of the upper petals being slightly hooded. The perianth-segments are of a bright crimson at the base, greenish upwards, spotted with purple. A. pelegrina (fig. 242), from the Andes of Peru, has white or pale yellow flowers striped with rose, and yellow spot on each segment.
There are many other species and all are very beautiful.
Fig. 242. Alstroemeria pelegriua. (1/4 nat. size.)