Wild Lily: L.forinosanum Wallace 1891

As the name indicates, this lily comes from Formosa, where it grows among grass and bamboos in the volcanic and sandstone soils of the northern parts of the island. Distributed from sea level up to 10,000 feet, the height of the plant varies according to the altitude at which it is growing: at sea level its stem is 6 feet 6 inches long, decreasing to only 1 foot at an altitude of 10,000 feet – in fact, it is called var. pricei in this

form. In the subtropical lowlands, flowering follows unfailingly six to eight months after sowing, irrespective of season. But when it is grown in Europe the blooms do not appear until late October and the rather small, exhausted bulbs rarely overwinter and are often destroyed by frost.

The very small bulbs, about 1 ½ -T4- inches thick, are either white or pale-yellow; grass-like, leaf-covered stems of dark-purple grow to a height of 4-5 feet, although selection makes it possible to produce plants up to 10 feet tall. Nodding, white, funnel-shaped flowers, 4J-6 inches long, narrow throat, wide-open mouth, tinged with pink along outside-centre rib, yellow pollen. Mostly only one or two flowers (selections with 30-40), long, cylindrical seed capsules, thin seeds with membrane around margins. Immediate germination. Easily recognized by its small bulb, which continually produces fresh shoots enabling the plant to flower throughout the year – unless damaged by frost! It is therefore best grown in a cool greenhouse, but if open sites are the only ones available, they must be chosen to provide maximum warmth and shelter. Even then, this lily is short-lived, but replacements are easily and quickly raised from seed.

Because of its high susceptibility to virus infections, it is often used as a test plant. For this purpose it is inoculated with the sap of a lily which is suspected to have virus but shows no visible symptoms. Results are judged by whether the inoculated L.forniosanum survives or dies.

Various types are commercially available and listed below.

L.formosanum var. pricei. A dwarf, high mountain range type, grows only 1-2 feet high and bears one or two narrow-throated, white, funnel-

shaped flowers, suffused with red on the outside. Winter-hardy and suitable for the rock garden. Flowers during July/August. Crosses are:

L.formosanum x L. philippinense (RHS-LYB 1949) L.fonnosanuni x L. ncpalense (Formolense, New Zealand) L.fonnosainmi var. pricei x L. longifloruni (L. x zalivskii) L.formosanum x L. longiflorum Tetrabel

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