Crinum zeylanicum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Crinum zeylanicum (L.) L.

Protologue: Syst. nat. ed. 13: 236 (1770).

Vernacular names

  • Milk-and-wine lily (En).


Native to tropical Africa, Sri Lanka and continental Asia; in Java cultivated as an ornamental, and locally naturalized.


The bulb is very acrid, and causes inflammation of the skin and the mucous membranes, and is therefore used in rheumatism. In West Africa, the bulbs are known to cause severe diarrhoea. Externally, the leaves are applied to injuries and ulcers. In Sri Lanka, the bulbs are used as a rubefacient and the leaf juice for relieving earache.


A herb up to 120 cm tall, bulb 6-20 cm in diameter, false stem up to 15 cm long; leaves 9-12, elliptical, 20-70 cm × 2.5-7.5 cm, mostly prostrate, margin long undulate, scabrous; umbel 6-15-flowered, scape 25-60 cm long, bracts 6-9 cm × 2-3 cm, purplish; flowers fragrant, corolla tube 10-14 cm long, more or less pendulous, lobes lanceolate, 8-13 cm × 2.5-3 cm, white with pink bands, stamens declinate, filaments 6-8 cm long, curved suddenly upwards at apex, white, anthers purplish, turning black, style 16-20 cm long; capsule subglobose, 2-5 cm in diameter, beaked, pericarp leathery, purplish, turning yellow. C. zeylanicum occurs in slightly moist sites in savanna, and along the sandy sea-coast, in Java up to 1100 m altitude. In Sri Lanka flowering from August to February.

Selected sources

74, 134, 194, 786.