Wild Lily: L. speciosum Thunberg 1794

Next in beauty to the Golden-Rayed Lily of Japan, this magnificent species comes from the southern Japanese islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, but grows also on the island of Formosa and in the central Chinese provinces of Kiangsi and Anhwci.

The yellow to purple-brown bulb is round. The stem is 3-4 feet high, wiry and clothed with scattered, leather-textured, broad, green, lanceolate leaves. The large, fragrant, nodding blooms, four to 10 in number, are carried during August and September on somewhat stiff pedicels; the blooms are strongly reflexed and of a delicate pink with wavy white margins, while the lower parts of the petals are spotted with crimson papillae; prominently protruding anthers and stigma, chocolate to purple-brown pollen.

If grown in the open, botrytis and autumn rains often spoil the magnificent blooms of this rather late-flowering lily, which only shows its full perfection if cultivated as a pot plant or if grown in a cool greenhouse. The seeds, slow germinators in any circumstances, seldom ripen on plants grown outdoors, although multiplication is possible by means of the numerous bulblets this stem-rooter provides. If it must be grown in an open garden, a well-sheltered place with good soil liberally enriched with peat and leaf-mould is essential: the chosen site should also afford ground shade. Wonderful lilies have resulted from a cross with L. auratum; other existing crosses are with L. nobilissinmm, L. henryi and L. nepalense.

L. speciosum appears in many forms in nature, and selections have in addition given a host of different colour shades, of which the most important are:

L. speciosum var. album and L. speciosum var. album-novum; both are white-flowering, but the last-named is the more vigorous.

L. speciosum var. gloriosoides. A fine, rare, but susceptible form, which takes the place of L. speciosum in both China and Formosa. Strongly reflexcd, waved perianth, deep-scarlet with the colour concentrated in the bottom quarter of the petals.

L. speciosum var. kraetzeri. Pure-white with a green stripe along the petal centres. Used for forcing.

L. speciosum var. rubrum. Dark-purple stem and carmine flowers.

L. speciosum Gilrey. A selection of ruby-red blooms made by Gilbert Errey of Australia, (NALS-LYB 1962)

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.