Wild Lily: L. amabile Palibin 1901

Native in Korea and Dagelet Island, grows in sandy loam among grass and woody undergrowth. The globe-shaped but pointed bulbs are white. Grows to a height of 16-39 inches, bears fairly numerous, narrowly lanceolate leaves marked with a brown spot at their apex. Produces between one and six nodding, black-spotted, Turk’s Cap blooms of shiny orange-red. The anthers are dark chocolate-brown, the pollen is vermilion. Long, oval-shaped seed capsules, quick-germinating seed. Flowers June-July.

Although this lily was introduced comparatively late – E. H. Wilson only sent seed to the United States in 1918 and 1919 – it was rapidly distributed throughout the West. It is remarkable for its shiny, orange-cinnabar-red flower; even a few plants provide an effective splash of colour. Tolerates full sun and dry soils, does not fade, but has an unpleasant scent.

L. amabile var. hiteum. English and Dutch-grown seedlings of L. amabile produced a variant with shiny, orange-yellow flowers. Both yellow and

red-flowered varieties were crossed to produce hybrids which retained the gloss on the upper leaf surface in addition to the pronounced colours.

The resulting hybrids are Duchess (with L. x maculatum), Waxwing (withL. philadeiphicum) and Cardinal (with L. tigrinuni). J. C. Taylor, of Guelph, Ontario, is the breeder of the last two.

L. amahile was also used by Jan de Graarf in the breeding of his Fiesta and Mideentury hybrids.

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