Blandfordia nobilis

Christmas bells, gadigalbudyari in Cadigal language

Family: Blandfordiaceae

The species grows wild in the sandstone country of New South Wales, from north of Sydney, south to about Milton, extending somewhat into the lower mountains. It is found in coastal heath, as well as open patches of pure sand with good rainfall; in water seepage areas and in swampy heath.

It is a tufted perennial herb or lily with thick, fibrous roots. The leaves are stiff and grassy, up to 75 cm long and 3–5 mm wide.

The flowering stems are unbranched, up to 80 cm long and 6 mm wide with between three and twenty flowers. Flowers are about 30 mm long, on a pedicel up to 35 mm long, with a small bract near its base. The flowers have a tubular to campanulate (bell) shape and are a striking brownish red with yellow lobes, occurring from December to January.

Seeds are produced in a capsule about 60 mm long, on a stalk up to 25 mm long.

In the garden

It prefers to be grown in full sun in coastal regions and not colder, drier shady positions.

It grows best where the soil is naturally deep and light (sandy) with fairly constant moisture. One example is an area of natural water seepage used for moisture-loving and bog plants.

A good cut flower.


It can be propagated successfully from fresh seed, and can also be propagated from divisions.

Other information

It has been observed flowering in areas regenerating from fire.

Blandfordia – after George Spencer-Churchill (1766–1840), Marquis of Blandford; 

nobilis – famous, noble.

Blandfordia nobilis was first formally described in 1804 by English botanist James Edward Smith.

Not at risk in NSW.

By Jeff Howes