New Inca lily Tangerine Tango can jazz up summer gardens

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Blaine Friedlander

Creating a fruit salad for the eyes, Cornell has developed -- and patented -- a new ornamental flower.

Alstroemeria Tangerine Tango is a new, winter-hardy Inca lily with vivid orange petals, intense lemon-yellow highlights, little flecks of brown and a hint of lime tint. The plants begin to flower in June and shoot new stems for months until the first freeze of fall.

When cut, these flowers will last two weeks in a vase.

Developed by Mark Bridgen, Cornell professor of horticulture and director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, N.Y., the hybrid is the second ornamental plant patented by the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization. The first was Mauve Majesty -- another Inca lily -- two years ago.

Tangerine Tango is winter hardy in many parts of the United States, surviving cold as low as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's zone 5 (which includes western Massachusetts, mid-state New York, northern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, much of Michigan, southern Iowa and Nebraska, northern Missouri and Kansas, and eastern Colorado).

In fact, this flower will do very well almost anywhere in the United States, says Bridgen.

Alstroemeria flowers, native to South America, are the fifth most popular cut flower in the United States, according to Bridgen. "The flowers are perfect for hotel lobbies and fancy restaurants because they don't wilt for up to two weeks," he says.

This flower took eight years to develop and is now available commercially through nurseries and mail order companies, such as:

White Flower Farm, Richfield, Conn., http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com;

Brent and Becky's Bulbs, Gloucester, Va., http://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com;

McClure and Zimmerman Bulbs, Friesland, Wisc., http://www.mzbulb.com/; and

Roots and Rhizomes, Randolph, Wisc., http://www.rootsrhizomes.com.


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