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Flowers 101: Alstroemeria

I love the gracefully awkward name of the alstroemeria flower, which is named after a Swedish baron named Clas Alströmer. This variety is one of my favorites to decorate with because of its long vase life. Buy a bunch when the buds are closed, and the blooms stay looking lovely for weeks. For that reason, you'll often see the sturdy flower adorning the tables of restaurants.

Sometimes called the Peruvian lily, the alstroemeria comes in a wide spectrum of mostly autumnal colors, including mauve, burnt orange, pink, and dusty yellow. The petals are often two-toned with flecks of color toward the center. The long stems are lined with slender, almost cornstalk-like leaves, so that a bunch of alstroemerias in a vase have a very full look. That, along with the long life and the affordable price, make alstroemerias a great choice for everyday decorating.

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