Lee Poulsen wlp@Radar-Sci.Jpl.Nasa.Gov
Thu, 22 Apr 2004 17:15:27 PDT
I only grow a few Hymenocallis: H. sonorensis, H. eucharidifolia which 
is new for me, and a couple of species that aren't named. Plus, I grow 
the two hybrids that are always sold by the regular nurseries, which 
might be Ismenes rather than Hymenocallis (x festalis and Sulphur 
Queen). Those two are carefree growers for me. And I now would like to 
get H. liriosme now that I've seen it. There is a tropical type that 
grows in a lot of neighborhoods back home in Austin, TX that is a 
passalong plant. But it must be fairly hardy since it survives Zone 8b 
winters all the time. However, they become very large plants. I love 
the scent which is probably why most people grow them, but I don't 
really like the floppiness of their petals, nor the size of the plant. 
But they seem to be related to many of the ones I've seen planted in 
virtually all the tropical countries I've visited.

I currently don't have a clue how to distinguish most of the various 
species and maybe that's why I haven't been such a big fan of them. 
Plus, the knowing the entire genus reminds me of trying to know the 
entire genus of Hippeastrum or of Rhodophiala. Things don't seem clear 
cut as to the species names let alone the genus (Ismene vs. 
Hymenocallis), there are lots and lots of species, and there are 
multiple different climate regimes they come from and you have to know 
which in order to grow some of them successfully. Plus, there doesn't 
seem to be a good comprehensive reference for any of them that is 
easily available to the ordinary gardener. However, this hasn't stopped 
me from collecting too many Hippeastrum or from attempting to collect 
too many Rhodophiala. So maybe I should get into them more...

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

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