This plant is a man-made hybrid between
Potts Montbretia (Crocosmia Pottsii) and
Falling Stars (Crocosmia Aurea) which was performed in France.
Some similarities to : Pott's Montbretia (crocosmia pottsii) but that has petal lobes half as long as the abruptly widening tube, and to
Aunt Eliza Crocosmia paniculata) which is taller at 1.2m and has petal lobes less than half as long as the abruptly widening tube, and to
Giant Montbretia (Crocosmia masoniorum) which has much redder flowers, stamens protruding and stands about 1.2m tall.
Giant Montbretia by the lack of pleating (corrugating) in the leaves, and by the deep orange colour of the flowers, red in Giant Montbretia.
Name derived from the Greek, crocos = crocus or saffron, and osmos= smell or odour because it has the aroma of saffron when moist, saffron being a spice: the stigmas of the crocus flower.
Montbretia is not native, but widely escaped from gardens now growing on seaside cliff tops, and grassy banks near the sea, hardly ever inland. It is to be found, or was in 1965, all the way along the sides of Isle of Man Manx Electric Railway lines between Laxey, through Minorca to Onchan Head.
Montbretias grow from corms, which are easily split into numerous parts. It spreads rather vigorously via a proliferation of these under-ground corms. A vertical barrier from ground level to 6 inches below ground will prevent this type of spreading (but not the self-seeding). Because of this propensity to spread rapidly it has been regarded as a problem plant, to be controlled. No other plants can grow where Montbretia spreads because of the dense strap-like foliage and the fact that the numerous corms form an impenetrable almost conglomerate-like continuous seal about 3 inches below ground level. The corms are similar in form to garlic cloves, but as hard as conkers! Even getting a 4-pronged garden-fork through them is problematic.
The flowers of Crocosmia species yield a yellow to saffron-tinged dye.