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Queen's Tears - Bilbergia Nutans - What Blooms in Santa Barbara - May

Bilbergia Nutans Lotusland

.....In southern California,  many pleasant horticultural experiences befell me.   Of these, one of the most exciting was suddenly to be presented with...enchanting flowers....which I had ever seen before....Billbergia nutans.

It was like meeting with a stranger whose very language I could not identify.   But the language of beauty was clear.  What melting rose color in the fuchsia-like billbergia ....

~ Mrs. Francis King, Pages From A Garden Notebook, 1920

Bilbergia Nutans -Curtis' Botanical Magazine 1879


A rather pretty hybrid Bromeliad.... It has a pendulous, cylindrical, glabrous peduncle a foot long,  furnished with broadly lanceolate, acuminate, boat-shaped bracts of a rich, bright,  rosy crimson.    The flowers are few racemose, each about three inches in length, the sepals half an inch long, oblong, obtuse, iridescent, reddish at the base, blue at the tips,  the corolla protruding beyond the calyx,  greenish yellow its strap shaped lobes, two inches long and rolled up like the fronds of a Fern,  its six stamens with slender yellow filament and its elongated style with flattened blue stigmas.....

~ Robert Hogg, Florist and Pomologist, A Pictorial Monthly Magazine, 1866


This is bilgergia nutans "Lotusland". This cultivar was developed at the Lotusland estate in Montecito. It has variegated leaves, and really bright colors on the flowers. It grows like a weed, and blooms profusely.

I'll have to look closer at my bilbergia plant when it blooms. Your first photo with the purple edges is really dramatic. Sometimes I feel humans miss out on so much because we're so huge compared to so much of the natural world, don't you think?

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