Wild Lily: L. sulphureum Baker 1891 (L. myriophyllum Franchet)

Described in lily literature for some time as L. myriophyllum Franchct, and discovered by the French missionary Delavay at Lankong in northwestern Yunnan. Its home country extends from south to north Yunnan (Tali Mountains) into the Shan States of upper Burma, growing at heights of 4,000-5,000 feet on stony, red loam.

Thick, fleshy, purple scales form the bulb, which is approximately 4 inches in diameter. The erect stem rises 3-6 feet high, and is clothed with numerous, spreading, linear-lanceolate leaves, and a seemingly equally high number of axil bulbils. Bears up to 15 narrow, drooping, trumpet-shaped blooms (6-8 inches long) which are fragrant and have a deep-yellow throat changing to ivory-yellow on the petal tips; flushed pink on the outside. Brown anthers, yellow pollen, poor seed production.

Although it can be grown in the open in Europe, it is unfortunately not very long-living. Perfect drainage with a gravel and rubble base are a must, and so is a southerly position and shelter from cold winds. The bulb should be planted 10-12 inches deep, preferably in good loam fortified with leaf-mould, sand, and some bonemeal. Alkaline soils are to be avoided; surface protection during winter months is advisable. This is a late plant, and shows no top growth until mid or late May, when some other lilies are perhaps already 20 inches tall; it flowers at the end of August or early September.

L. sulphureum is used a great deal for breeding. The hybrid L. x sulphurgale which first flowered during 1915 was bred by Professor Schcubcl, Oberlahnstcin, Germany, from L. sulphureum x L. regale. The Crows hybrids are the result of L. x sulphurgale x L. imperiale. T.A.

Havemeyer is of L. sulphureum x L. henryi parentage. Other existing hybrids have been produced from crosses with L. centifoliwn and L. sargentiae. (RHS-LYB 1950)

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