We asked Charles Barnhoorn of the South African bulb company Hadeco "How could such a beautiful flower that you grow be called Zombie?” He replied as follows.
“There is a very interesting story to answer that question. I also find it a beautiful flower. I first saw it almost 10 years ago in the first evaluation trials. My father and I saw it at the same time as we were going through deciding on future varieties. We had a distinct difference of opinion on it; I loved it and marked it to proceed to a second round of trials. My father balked and said it needed to be rejected and discarded immediately. In our evaluations, if just one of us accepts it to the second round, then it is enough to proceed. He tried to change the rules at that point.
However, I insisted it remain in the program but my father stipulated the name would be "Ugly" which is what he called it for the first few years during 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. evaluations. Then I said it would sell but not with that name (which may have been his intention) and so my father agreed to change the name to Voodoo. That name was already taken by another hybrid in Holland and so with further protest to the look of the variety my father came up with Zombie. I can only guess why he gave it that name, but judging by the previous attempts, it was not complimentary. Perhaps a tongue in cheek name that indicates it is interesting, crazy and wild but not a name that suggests beauty.”