Hymenocallis--TOW-Part One

Alan Meerow miaam@ars-grin.gov
Mon, 19 Apr 2004 04:37:04 PDT
No, Kevin, we recognized Ismene, Elisena and Pseudostenomesson as SUBGENERA
of Ismene.  Leptochiton (the former Hymenocallis quitoensis and H.
heliantha) was recognzied as a distinct genus.

Alan W. Meerow, Ph.D., Research Geneticist and Systematist
USDA-ARS-SHRS, National Germplasm Repository
13601 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 33158 USA
voice: (305) 254-3635   fax: (305) 969-6410
email: miaam@ars-grin.gov

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kevin D. Preuss (by way of Mary Sue Ittner<msittner@mcn.org>)"
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 2:06 AM
Subject: [pbs] Hymenocallis--TOW-Part One

> Hymenocallis--TOW Part One
> The New World genus Hymenocallis Salisbury (Amaryllidaceae), recognized as
> a distinct genus since 1812, is composed of roughly 70 to 80 species with
> plenty of room for debate. The native habitats range in the United States
> from Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, south to the Carolinas, Georgia,
> Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mexico where the genus explodes; the
> majority of the species occur in Central America and radiate down into the
> northern portions of South America (Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil) as
> The closer one looks at the species and groups of species of Hymenocallis,
> the harder it is to find the lines of distinction. Herbarium specimens are
> valuable in providing locality information, primarily. Reticulate/hybrid
> evolution would seem to play some role in speciation within the genus.
> A big problem in gaining an understanding of the genus is that populations
> are being eradicated at alarmingly fast rates as wetlands are being
> modified.   Lost populations could be links to other taxa; once the
> populations are destroyed, the hybrid  swarm populations become isolated.
> It is like working on a puzzle with missing pieces.  For example, H.
> littoralis, the type specimen, is from a small island  (Tera Bomba) on the
> NE coast of Columbia.  This could very well be one of the species H.
> carribbeae or H. latifolia.
> The SE US has 15 species (roughly). The tropics (South America, West
> and Caribbean island) is host to a wide array of species with 4 species
> occurring in Cuba, at least 3 or 4 species in Jamaica, a few species in
> West Indies.
> South America is host to another 5-6 species (e.g. H. venezuelensis, H.
> tubiflora, H. speciosa, etc...). In Central America, H. latifolia occurs
> Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico (and uncommonly
> coastal SE US).  Mexico is another center of diversity for the genus with
> many species native to the various climatic regions.  Thad Howard, Dave
> Lehmiller and Jim Bauml (he did his PhD on the Mexican species) have
> experience with these plants.
> These are a little more difficult to cultivate, as replicating their
> habitat is difficult at sea level here in humid Florida.
> The three closely related genera  once classified as Hymenocallis ,
> Ismene,  Elisena, and Leptochiton , replace Hymenocallis in the Andean
> regions. For practical purposes sometimes when referring to hybrids, the
> genera Elisena, Ismene, and Leptochiton are recognized under the genus
> Hymenocallis in a broad sense. They are distinct groups,  not the true
> spider lilies however. Meerow and Snijman recognize each group as distinct
> genera; together the four genera comprise their tribe Hymenocallideae. The
> taxonomy of the group seems in flux continuously.
> Interestingly, the taxa that offset prolifically do not readily set seeds
> and the taxa that set seeds well are not typically prolific offsetters.
> some groups, rhizomes may occur in one population while in another of the
> same species, some individuals in a population may have rhizome while most
> others do not (H. palmeri, H. henryae, etc...).  Some species rarely
> particularly within the Mexican group.
> Based upon my encounters with the genus in the United States, Hymenocallis
> populations most often occur in or on the margins of wetland ecosystems
> (marshes, lakes, rivers, forested swamps, wet prairies). Less often they
> occur in dry woods (H. galvestonesis), flatwoods (H. henryae), or in
> disturbed sites such as pastures and roadside ditches as do, for example,
> some populations of H. palmeri and H. galvestonensis (H. ocidentalis var.
> eulae) , or on coastal dunes as does H. latifolia var. keyensis (possibly
> H. carribeae) on Bahia Honda key in Florida. They are most spectacular
> found blooming on many rivers and spring runs in the Southeast, such as
> the Cahaba lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) on the Cahaba River in Alabama
> and the spider lilies (H. rotata) on the Santa Fe River of northern
> and its spring runs (H. franklinensis is another spring run spider lily) .
> A few of the southeastern US species are listed as threatened or
> and are protected in more than one state at the state level (H. coronaria,
> H. godfreyi, H. henryae).
> Spider lilies are commonly cultivated throughout most of their range and
> are grown in many tropical parts of the New World. They make excellent cut
> flowers, even if short lived. A few of the tropical species hold their
> flower for a few days, however.
> Kevin Preuss
> St. Petersburg, FL
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