The Q&A Archives: iris or lilly or neither

Question: I have aquired some bulbs that look like clusters of tiny bulbs on long strings. The leaves of the plant are lily like but at the base its more like an iris,all I got were the leaves and roots so I don't know if it flowered yet or not, there was no stem or spent flower. Can you hazard a guess?

Answer: Iris grow from rhizomes (long roots) so we can rule those out. Lily bulbs are usually large and look like bulbs but can have little bulblets attached, which if planted on their own will become individual plants, although they won't flower for a few years. My guess is crocosmia, also called montbretia. The leaves are like gladiolus and they grow from corms. The corms sometimes develop in a long string, almost stacked up on one another. Here's a website with a photo of the roots:

Hope this is the plant in question.

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