Help us save 'glory of the sun'
The stunning alpine 'glory of the sun' (Leucocoryne coquimbensis) from Chile was first brought back to the UK by the plant hunters of the Andes. You can help Kew safeguard this plant for our future by adopting a seed for yourself, or as a gift for £25.
The genus Leucocoryne is a group of native bulb-forming plants which have been commonly called ‘glory of the sun’ since the 1920s, when plant collector Clarence Ellliot coined the phrase.
'Glory of the sun' (Leucocoryne coquimbensis) has purple-blue flowers, with bright yellow staminodes (sterile stamens) at their centres, and like all species in the genus its flowers appear late spring, just before the plant dies down for the summer. Its long, narrow leaves appear in late autumn.
A rich and diverse flora
Chile’s bulb flora is very rich and many of the plant species found there are unique (endemic) to the central Mediterranean region. This central zone of Chile has mild, wet winters and long, dry summers - similar to California and the Mediterranean basin.
The combination of the Atacama desert to the north, the Andes mountains to the east and a temperate climate to the south, ensures that many of the regions bulbous plant species have evolved separately from their close relatives. They've also been prevented from spreading further afield.
Of the unique bulbs found in this area, the most colourful and showy are in the genus Leucocoryne, which includes L. ixioides, L. narcissoides and L. purpurea, and which are often found in cultivation.
Chile has over 5,200 native plant species and around half are endemic. Many are also widely used in horticulture. You can see a wide selection of alpine plants at Kew Gardens in the Davies Alpine House.
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in Chile
Kew has partnered with the Agricultural Research Institute of Chile (INIA) to bank the precious flora of Chile’s desert and Mediterranean regions.
The project is based at the Agriculture Research Institute of Chile seed bank, near La Serena, in Chile’s Coquimbo region.
Scientists from Kew are sharing their expertise in seed conservation with partners in Chile to help build local seed banking capability. All the seed banking processes in this project are being carried out in Chile.
Plant species are prioritised according to their uniqueness and distribution. A team of botanists and ecologists are undertaking collecting expeditions, targeting the rarest and most threatened plants from the north of Chile.
You can adopt this seed for yourself, or as a gift for £25.
When you Adopt a Seed, you'll receive a personalised certificate, featuring your plant species, as a downloadable PDF document you can print off, and regular updates over the year from the Millennium Seed Bank.
For an additional £2, you can have an Adoption Pack posted (either to you, or direct to a gift recipient) featuring a certificate and a full colour picture of your species (UK only).
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