Oriental (Japanese) Lily hybrids

This group includes hybrids produced from L. auratum, L. specioswn, L. japonicum and L. rubelhun and also those obtained from crosses with L. henryi. Subdivisions are: (a) all hybrids with trumpet-shaped flowers (b) all hybrids with saucer-shaped flowers, e.g., Emperor of India (c) all hybrids with flat-shaped flowers, e.g., Imperial strain (d) all hybrids with reflexed flowers, e.g., Jamboree strain

The Japanese L. auratum, L. spcciosnni, L. japonicum, and L. rubettum are the breeding partners of this group. The extraordinary beauty of these lilies (particularly of L. anratnin) and the many natural forms of L. aiiratuni and L. speciosum are the reason for the large number of hybrid forms. But as with the Goldband Lily, these hybrids are not easily raised or kept in a garden; they are susceptible to virus diseases, as well as fusarium, and prefer lime-frce soils and maritime climates.

L. auratum was already being crossed with various L. speciosnm forms in 1869, barely seven years after it was first imported from Japan. The best one – its beauty was astonishing for the time – was named L. x parkmanii in honour of the American historian Francis Parkman. The coloured illustration of it in Elwes’ Monograph of the Lily proved an inspiration and spur to lily breeders; unfortunately it now has only historical interest, as all the bulbs died soon after they were sold to England. But Roy M. Wallace, of Warburton, Victoria, Australia, was later successful in crossing the two species, namely L. speciosum Gilray and L. auratwn Crimson Queen, and called the hybrid Jillian Wallace. Breeders clamoured for this lily with its carmine segments of 8 inches diameter marked with white tips and waved white margins. The quite flat petals, heavily spotted in red and with papillae, were a new step forward, and increased the size and beauty of lily flowers.

G. L. Slate, of Geneva, New York, was also successful with his Parkmanii cross. Dr S. L. Emsweller, of Bcltsville, carried out a number of crosses between L. speciosuin and L. aiiratmn, which he back-crossed with L. speciosuni before releasing them in 1953; they are known as

Potomac hybrids, and have very flat, large, pure-white, white and red or deep-carmine blooms. The year 1960 saw the introduction of the white Allegra – a hybrid with few pink papillae produced by crossing L. speciosum var. album with L. auratum var. platyphyllum. Raising these hybrids from seed presents great difficulty, as the seeds contain growth inhibitors which nullify any normal cross, although the problem can be solved by careful removal of the embryo, which is germinated and grown on a nutrient medium under sterile conditions.

Dr Norma E. Pfeiffer, of the Boyce Thompson Institute, Yonkcrs, New York, aimed to combine the delicate pink of L. japonicum and L. rubellum into hybrids with L. anratum. She completed a series of crosses, together with the appropriate back-crosses, where L. auratum was fertilized with L.japonicum and L. rubellum pollen.

Jan de GraafF’s Empress of China flowered for the first time in 1949; in 1950 it was the turn of Empress of Japan and later of Empress of India. The first is pure-white with a few purple spots, the second is also white but bears a gold median band and deep-brown spots, while the last is pink with a crimson-coloured centre and dark-red papillae. In all cases the huge 12-inch diameter flowers are flat, saucer-shaped, and arise from back-crosses of Jillian Wallace with L. auratum Crimson Queen and L. auratum Virginale.

Jan de Graaff added three complementary strains to these three clones: Imperial Crimson, Imperial Silver, and Imperial Gold. The Pink Cloud, Pink Diamond, and Pink Glory strains arise from crosses with pink L. japonicum, and are therefore in part deeper and in part only delicately tinted with pink.

The 12-inch large, carmine and white-margined Centennial hybrids were brought onto the market by Edgar L. Kline, of Lake Grove, Oregon, and are back-crosses between Jillian Wallace and the Potomac hybrids with L. auratum and L. speciosum. His Pink Cameo and White Cameo hybrids resulted from crosses between L. auratum var. platyphyllum and L. japonicum. Their saucer-shaped flowers have either inherited the delicate pink of L. japonicum or the pure white of L. japonicum var. album.

Leslie Woodriff, of Harbor, Oregon, was equally successful in producing his large saucer-shaped Atomic hybrids from L. auratum, L. speciosum, L. japonicum, and L. rubellum. More important, by managing to breed L. rubelluins early flowering habit into his range of white to deep-red and speckled hybrids, he made them acceptable for forcing, a point of particular commercial significance.

L. auratum and L. speciosum flourish in the New Zealand climate, and it is therefore not surprising that the New Zcalanders work extensively with hybrids from these varieties.

The Zcalandia hybrids bred by L. B. Tuffery, of Bell Block, New Plymouth, New Zealand, are an example, and have arisen from L. auratum, L. speciosum, and L. japonicum. They range through a wide colour spectrum from white to pink, pure-carmine and lavender.

The Mclford hybrids developed by Dr J. S. Yeates, of Palmerston North, New Zealand, came from particularly good stock – L. auratum Crimson Queen, L. speciosum Gilray, and the Parkmanii hybrid Jillian Wallace. Some of the best hybrids out of his clones, of which over 30 are registered, are: ‘Pink Delight – purple-red, saucer-shaped flowers, 8-2—10 inches in diameter, with white margins; Pink Beauty – even greater blooms of up to 12-inch diameter of Chinese pink with dark spots but narrower white margins; Rising Star – pink, saucer-shaped, somewhat erect-flowering; Lavender Princess – red; Excelsior – deep-crimson with narrow, white margins.

There was great excitement among lily breeders when Leslie Woodriff exhibited his Black Beauty at the North American Lily Society show in 1957. Apart from being the darkest red of all L. speciosum hybrids, almost a black-red in the flower centre, it measures up in all other respects, including health and ability to produce many flowers – 56 per stem! It was the only seedling selected from over 50,000 raised from seed of various types of L. speciosum which had been dusted with the pollen of multifarious lilies excluding, it was thought, that of L. speciosum. Subsequent cytological examination of chromosomes by Dr S. L. Emsweller and Joseph Uhrig determined the parentage as L. speciosum var. punctatum and L. henryi. At last a bridge from L. henryi, which had already been previously crossed with a trumpet lily (L. x aurelianense) to the Japanese group of lilies, was successfully carried out. But there is a snag – unfortunately! Black Beauty is not fertile, and whether self-pollinated or cross-pollinated refuses to set seed. This is unfortunate, for if it could have been used as a parent in further breeding work, fascinating and far-reaching results could forcsceably have been obtained. (NALS-LYB 1962)

But it appears that Dr S. L. Emsweller had been successful in obtaining a back-cross from Black Beauty with L. speciosum varieties. Apart from this, colchicine treatment has already helped to produce an amphidiploid with larger blooms.

The following Oriental hybrids are available in commerce:

JANDEGRAAFF, of Gresham, Oregon

Imperial Crimson: strain, crimson with white margins

Imperial Silver: strain, red-spotted, white

Imperial Gold: strain, white with broad gold median band, dark red spots

Empress of India: clone, deep crimson-red, reflexed white margins

Empress of China: clone, pure-white with red spots

Empress of Japan: clone, white with gold median band, reflexed

Sunday Best: clone, pure-white base with purple median band shading to crimson

Nobility: strain, deep ruby-red with white markings

American Eagle: clone, pure-white, vermilion-spotted

Crimson Beauty: clone, pure-white with cherry-red band

Adventure: clone, crimson, white petal tips, wide-open

Magic Pink: strain, L. rubellum x L. auratum hybrids, delicate pink with dark-red speckles

Pink Glory: strain, L.japonicum cross; salmon-pink

Pink Cloud: strain, L. auratum var. tricolor x L. japonicum var. platy-folium; satin-red

Pink Diamond: strain, L. auratum var. virginale x L.japonicum; pink-white with white, fine golden band

Red Band: strain, white with pronounced red median band

Bonfire: clone, dark-red with small white margin

Flying Cloud: strain, pure-white

Jamboree: strain, crimson, white-margined; reflexed blooms

Enterprise: clone, selection from Jamboree strain

Everest: strain, pure-white Jamboree type

DR S. L. EMSWELLER, of Beltsville, Maryland

Potomac hybrids: L. auratutn x L. speciosutn hybrids, pink to red, white margins; flat, recurved Allegra: clone, parentage as above, pure-white, green star

EDGAR L. KLINE, of Lake Grove, Oregon

Centennial hybrids: pink to carmine, red-spotted, white margins

Pink Cameo hybrids: delicate pink

White Cameo hybrids: pure-white

LESLIE WOODRIFF, of Harbor, Oregon

Atomic hybrids: L. rubellum hybrids, various shades of pink, both early and late-flowering Cameo hybrids: L. auratum x L. japonicutn, white and pink Little Fairy hybrids: L. auratuin x L. rubellum, pink, early May-flowering Black Beauty: carmine with black-red centre, recurved

BLACKTHORNS GARDENS, Holbrook, Massachusetts

Crimson Dream: strain, crimson-pink to dark red, white margins

DRJ. s. YEATES, ofPalmerstoii North, New Zealand

Pink Delight: clone, saucer-shaped, purple-red with white margins, up to 12 inches in diameter Pink Beauty: Chinese red with dark spotting, narrow, white margins Lavender Princess: spotted lavender-lilac Rising Star: pink, saucer-shaped blooms Excelsior: carmine-pink with narrow white margins

L. B. TUFFERY, of Bell Block, New Plymouth, New Zealand Zealandia hybrids, Auratum-Speciosum hybrids

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