Wild Lily: L. harrisianum Beane and Vollmer 1955 (L. pardaliuum var. giganteuni Woodcock and Stearn)

This lily was at one time considered to be a giant form of L. pardalinum or a natural hybrid between L. pardalinum and L. humboldtii; it is now listed in American catalogues as Sunset Lily or Red Giant. Jan de Graaff

considers it as a ‘volunteer’ plant originated from Luther Burbank’s breeding work. In the meantime, Beane and Dr Vollmer located its place of origin along the banks of the Van-Duzen River in northern California, where flowering is entirely dependent on the vagaries of the weather; rhizomes are often washed away by the rain-swollen river, and buried deep under sand and rubble.

It is a magnificent lily bearing numerous blooms of a Martagon type, 3-4 inches wide, on a stem 5 feet-6 feet 6 inches clothed with strong, green leaves arranged in whorls. The shiny carmine-red of the perianth

segments reaches inwards from the petal tip and changes to chrome-yellow midway, and again into a shade of green towards the base of the flower; the whole of the petal area is marked with large, yellow-framed, chocolate-brown spots. It does well in cultivation, but only if placed in moist soil rich in humus, with its base in the shade and head in the sun. The rapidly multiplying rhizomes necessitate lifting and division at intervals of three or four years. Slow germination. Has been crossed with L. pardalinum and various other American lilies, (RHS-LYB 1957)

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