The Ivory Coast Lily is an aromatic African flower which can last up to a month as a cut flower. The Greeks gave it the name Ornithogalumor, "bird's milk." The African name is "Tjenkenrientjee" which was corrupted into the English common name, Chincherinchee. The Ivory Coast Lily is a very important creamy-white flower that sits atop a 6 feet tall stem on sword shaped, wide, medium-green leaves that point upward toward the flower cluster. The 1/2 inch flowers age to a pure white, and the 6 petaled, star-like flower are centered with a dark green knob that can age to black.The knob in the flower center matures to form a seed pod that rattles when touched or moved. This rattling noise actually sounds like the rattles of a rattlesnake; leading to another common name for the Ivory Coast Lily, the "Chincherinchee", common in England. At the Ivory Coast in Africa, the French name for this flower is called, "Lis de la Côte d'Ivoire de l'Afrique". The Ivory Coast Lily is an outstanding cut flower that is prized by floral shops and American florists, because the beautiful flowers are long lasting, and the white flower is perfect for weddings and anniversary flower arranging. When placed in a tall vase, the stems of Ivory Coast Lily will arrange themselves in a few hours by bending toward the light. The Ivory Coast Lily is distributed all along the East Coast of Africa and was imported into Europe by the Portuguese slave traders, and plants were grown at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London in 1887 and cataloged as the "Ivory Coast Lily", not as the incorrect name "Cape of Good Hope Lily", that is advertised by some internet websites today.
For a stunning landscape plant, the Ivory Coast Lily can be used in mass plantings in flower beds, where the graceful clusters of tall stemmed flowers will glow brightly in darkbackgrounds, both in full sun or partial shade. The Ivory Coast Lily begins flowering in June and July and frequently will rebloom in the Fall before going dormant. When viewed from a distance, the flower cluster of the Ivory Coast Lily looks to be flat on top, suspended on tall stems. The bulbs of the Ivory Coast Lily are around 15 centimeters in size as flowering begins, and a single flower bulb in quite prolific and will grow into a large clump of bublets that will each flower the following season once divided. Even though the Ivory Coast Lily can be propagated from the seed, a division of bulb clusters is much easier and faster than seed germination techniques. The remarkable cold hardiness of the Ivory Coast Lily makes it possible to plant these bulbs in climate zones that survive temperatures of zero degrees, but the bulbs should not be watered in the Winter months.