Leopard Lily (Belamcanda chinensis)

Iris chinensis. Ixia chinensis.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Leopard Lily
Belamcanda chinensis

The root contains tannin[272].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leopard lily has a very long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a bitter cooling herb that acts mainly on the lungs and the liver, lowering fevers and reducing inflammation[238]. It is effective against a number of bacterial, fungal and viral organisms[238] and has also been used as an antidote to snakebites[240].

    The root contains several medically active constituents including flavonoids and isoflavonoids[279]. It is analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, depurative, expectorant, febrifuge, pectoral, purgative, stomachic and tonic[46, 61, 147, 176, 178, 218, 238, 279]. It is used in the treatment of acute laryngitis, acute tonsillitis, oedema of the glottis and cough with profuse sputum[176, 279]. The juice of the root is used in Nepal to treat liver complaints, where it has the added benefit of improving the appetite[272]. This juice is also used to abort a foetus during the first trimester of pregnancy[272]. The root should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. The root is harvested in the summer and autumn, and dried for later use[238].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked[105, 177]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The plant is slightly toxic[147].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Pre-chill stored seed for 7 days and sow spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates in 2 – 8 weeks at 20¡c[134]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. They can be planted out in early autumn and should flower in the following year[200]. Division in spring or early autumn[200]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
Requires a fairly rich sandy or loamy soil in a bright sunny position or light shade. Succeeds in most soils[187]. Requires a position that stays moist in the summer[187]. Plants grow best in areas with long hot summers[238]. A fairly hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -15¡c[187] if given a deep dry mulch over the winter. A short lived plant, the bulbs are usually lifted in the autumn and stored in a cool but frost-free place over the winter, replanting them in the spring[233]. They can be left in the ground in the milder areas of the country so long as the soil is well-drained[233]. Individual flowers only live for one day, but the plant produces a succession of blooms over a period of several weeks[238]. Slugs really love this plant and can destroy even quite large clumps as they come into growth in the spring[K].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.