by Tony Hall
This pretty, small bulbous perennial is native to Spain and Morocco. It is in the daffodil family, Amarylidaceae, and is a monotypic genus, so this is the only species.
Lapiedra martinezii has a single stem which grows to around 25cm tall and is oval-shaped with channelled ridges. There are usually 2-3 leaves from each bulb, which appear after flowering. These are very distinctive. They are dull-green, linear with a rounded tip and most obvious is the silvery-white central stripe on each leaf.
The fragrant flowers are produced in a terminal cluster of up to 15 individual flowers, but more usually 4-9. In bud the flowers have a distinct green stripe on the back of each petal (occasionally they are found with brownish stripes), but once open they are a glistening pure white, with a hint of the green showing through the 6 spreading petals. There are 6 bright yellow/orange, Y-shaped anthers held on long pure white styles. Individual flowers never last too long and usually fade within a few days.
Although this is not a rare bulb it is one you come across fairly regularly whilst walking in the mountains as it likes to be tucked away in rock crevices, generally limestone and in shaded spots with good drainage.
Flowering from August to October.
Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in the plants of Andalucía.