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Leopard lily

Belamcanda chinensis  • 

Photo: Leopard lily

General description

Common Name: blackberry lily

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Family: Iridaceae

Zone: 5 to 10

Native Range: Central Asia, India, China, Japan

Garden Location: Kemper Cutting Garden, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Flower Borders

Height: 2 to 3 feet

Spread: 0.75 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: July to August

Bloom Color: Orange

Bloom Description: Orange dotted with red

Sun: Full sun

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Flowers: Showy Flowers

Fruit: Showy Fruit

Tolerates: Drought

Uses: Dried Flower


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Likes moist soils, but poorly-drained ones, particularly in winter, can be fatal. Clumps slowly expand by creeping rhizomes. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions which helps keep these somewhat short-lived perennials in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Blackberry lily (also commonly called leopard lily) is an erect, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall. Lily-like, deep orange flowers (to 2" across), heavily spotted with red dots, have 6 petal-like perianth segments. Flowers appear in early to-mid summer in sprays above the foliage on wiry, naked stems typically rising to 3' (less frequently to 4') tall. Sword-shaped, iris-like, medium green leaves (to 10" long) are in flattened fans. Flowers give way to pear-shaped seed pods which split open when ripe (late summer), with each pod revealing a blackberry-like seed cluster, hence the common name of blackberry lily. Spotting on the flowers gives rise to the additional common name of leopard lily. Formerlyknows as Belamcanda chinensis.


Soil type
Any, Clay
Full sun, Partial shade