Agapanthus is a genus of herbaceous perennials with strapped shaped leaves arranged in opposite rows that arise from thick rhizomes and have summer blooming blue or white flowers arranged atop a sturdy erect scape on a capitate pseudo-umbel subtended by two large deciduous bracts. It is the only genus in the subfamily Agapanthoideae in the Amaryllis family, the Amaryllidaceae. The genus Agapanthus was established by Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle in 1788 with 7 currently recognized species that include Agapanthus africanus, A. campanulatus, A. caulescens, A. coddii, A. inapertus, A. praecox, A. walshii. Several previously described species are now considered to be at the subspecific rank with A. comptonii and A. longispathus = A. praecox subsp. minimus, A. dyeri = A. inapertus subsp. intermedius, A. gracilis and A. nutans = A. caulescens subsp. gracilis and A. hollandii = A. inapertus subsp. hollandii. All of the species are native to Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique) and there are many hybrids and species cultivars that have been selected.
The name Agapanthus is derived from the Greek words 'agapé', meaning "love" or "friendship" and 'anthos', meaning "flower" and it is for this reason that "Love Flower" is sometimes given as its common name, though there does not seem to be any colloquial usage of this name and the reason for naming as such remains unclear. Some have suggested that the translation could be interpreted as "lovely flower", "flower of love" or if the name originated from the word 'Agapeo' which means "to be contented with" it could just refer to a flower Charles Louis L'Héritier, who first used the name Agapathus, was well pleased with. A good accounting of this is presented by Wim Snoeijer in his Agapanthus: A Revision of the Genus Timber Press 2004 but essentially Carl Linnaeus (the father of modern taxonomy) in 1753 published the name Crinum africanum for a plant likely brought back to Holland from the Cape of Good Hope by 1679. In 1789 Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle, the Director of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, changed the name of this plant to Agapanthus but used the invalid specific epithet umbellatus instead of preserving Linnaeus species name africanus. This mistake has perpetuated naming problems within the genus ever since. In addition the common "Lily of the Nile" is often used for this plant that originated in South Africa and not along the Nile River.
We grow or have grown the following Agapanthus:
Agapanthus 'Brilliant Blue' PP25,966 - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Elaine' PP7,303 - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Ellamae' PP7,297 - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Gold Strike' PP20,650
Agapanthus 'Henderson's White'
Agapanthus inapertus ssp. pendulus 'Graskop'
Agapanthus 'Midnight' - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Periwinkle Days'
Agapanthus 'Peter Pan' - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Ponto's Queen of the Nile' PP21,522 - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Black Pantha' - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Blue Bayou' PP26,420 - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Blue Flare' PP26,422 - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Delfina's Blush' PP21,522 - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Full Moon' PP26,421 - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Getty White'
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Penn's White' - no longer in production
Agapanthus praecox orientalis Queen Mum ['PMN06'] PP24651
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Silver Streak'
Agapanthus praecox ssp orientalis 'Variegata' - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Purple Delight'
Agapanthus 'Queen Anne' - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Rancho White' - no longer in production
Agapanthus 'Snow Pixie' PP15,470
Agapanthus 'Storm Cloud'
Agapanthus 'Storms River Haze'
Agapanthus 'Tinkerbell' - no longer in production
Agapanthus Twister ['AMBIC001'] PP25,519