Scientific name

Peliosanthes Andrews

Common names

China lily, tropical lily of the valley



Similar genera

Lagenandra, Ophiopogon, Piptospatha

Native distribution

southeast Asia, particularly India

Species cultivated

Peliosanthes sp.

Peliosanthes teta subsp. humilis [P. javanica] (rarely cultivated)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

information not available


terrestrial herb; able to tolerate short periods submerged

Brief description

Small to medium rosette plant. Rhizomatous; sympodial branching, rarely caulescent. Leaves basal; petiolate, sheathing; leaf blade linear to elliptic; apex typically acute; base attenuate to round; venation parallel. Inflorescence a many-flowered raceme; scape erect; bracts membranous; pedicels articulated near apex. Flowers small, greenish red to purple; tepals 6, fused into a short tube, lobes 1/3 to 2/3 as long as tepals; stamens 6; filaments connate in a fleshy, epipetalous corona, inserted on inside of the nectary; style conical to trigonous; stigma capitate or trilobed.

Natural habitat

forests, from lowlands to mountains

Additional comments

Peliosanthes, a genus comprising about 20 species, is far from well defined. Although none are truly aquatic, some species of Peliosanthes are often offered as aquarium plants in stores; these are able to tolerate short periods submerged and greater periods in flooded soil.