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Products > Chlorogalum pomeridianum
Chlorogalum pomeridianum - Soap Lily
Image of Chlorogalum pomeridianum
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 °F
Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap Lily) - A bulbous plant that forms clumps in winter into mid summer of 1 to 2 foot long narrow strap-like leaves rising from a basal rosettte. The leaves have undulating margins and lie along the ground or rise only slightly upward. In the late spring and summer arising above the leaves appear the long open inflorescences with fragrant white flowers of 3 petals and 3 nearly identical sepals with prominent long stamens that open in the late afternoon and evening. The plant has a brief dormancy when the leaves dry up in fall. Plant in full sun to light shade. Requires little or no irrigation. Hardy below 0 F and can be planted in USDA Zone 6. Found through much of California except in the higher mountains and deserts and north into Oregon on rock bluffs, grasslands, chaparral, and in open woodlands. It is also called Wavy-leafed Soap Plant, California Soaproot and Amoles. It was formerly classified as being in the Liliaceae family, but has more recently been placed in the Hyacinthaceae family and recent DNA evidence shows it to more closely allied to the Agavaceae family. Native Americans used the fibers surrounding the bulb to make small brushes and the juices of the bulb, containing saponins, were used for soap - a practice adopted by early European settlers. The bulb could also be cooked and used for glue or eaten, though only when other foods were exhausted. The name Chlorogalum comes from the Greek word 'chloros' meaning "green" and 'gala' meaning "milk" in reference to the green sap exuded by a broken leaf. The specific epithet pomeridianum is derived from the Latin phrase 'post meridiem' meaning “past mid-day” in reference to the flowers appearing late in the day. - this is the term which also gave rise to our abbreviation "P.M." for afternoon and evening”. The picture on this page from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council website. 

Information about Chlorogalum pomeridianum displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.