≡ Menu

Plant Profile: Snowy Mermaid (Libertia formosa)

Libertia formosaAlso called Chilean iris, this evergreen herbaceous perennial is a member of the Iris family (Iridaceae) and native to Chile. It was introduced into California where it has naturalized and can be found in disturbed soil, as well as urban and coastal areas. Sword-shaped leathery mid to dark green leaves eighteen inches long and half inch wide form dense clumps that are attractive all year long but may become congested over several years. Stiff flowering stalks four feet tall arise from late spring through summer carrying small umbels of white cup-shaped flowers. Plants can be used in borders or as ground covers. The generic name, Libertia, is in memory of the Belgian botanist Marie A. Libert, Belgium, 1782–1863. The specfic epithet, formosa, comes from the Latin word meaning handsome.

libertia formosa detailType: Evergreen herbaceous perennial

Bloom: White cup-shaped flowers carried in small umbels from late spring through summer

Size: Leaves 18” H , flowers 4’ H x 4 W

Light: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Care: When plants become congested cut leaves to the ground or divide.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division in spring