Naming and introduction of Lilium Enchantment.

John Bryan
Sat, 24 Jan 2004 13:19:34 PST
Dear Jim McKenney:

Writing in his book The New Book of Lilies, published in 1951, Jan de
Graaff wrote; Some ten years ago I started to cross these lilies. Good
seed resulted when this first generation flowered, it already contained
some very nice lilies. Back crossing them to both parents produced an
even larger number of good types. There were a number of of new (note
new) upright-flowering plants like the L. Hollandicum varieties. Jan
goes on to say from the hundreds of these Mid-Century lilies only
seventeen are being grown as separate varieties. One of them Enchantment
is so outstanding and prolific I obtained a plant patent for it. This
patent was #862.

As the book was published in 1952, ten years before this would have been
1942. Then we note there were, in effect two generations of seedlings
raised. Thus allowing 2 years for each generation, which would be the
minimum, we arrive at 1946. We know the first growing at Wisley was in
1949, as per RHS lily Year Book of 1949. Obviously it was named by then. 

While obviously early crossing of various lilies did take place in the
30's, it should be remembered that de Graaff came to the USA in 1928 to
collect funds owed his family's firm in Holland. It would have taken a
while for a lily breeding program to have been put in place. I think de
Graaff was obviously correct when he stated.."some ten years ago", i.e.
in 1942, perhaps 1941, as mentioned above. He bought the OBF in the
early 30's and it would have taken a couple of years to establish a
sound breeding program. It is possible to have seedlings of the
Mid-Century types in flower in two years, but they would have been
plants with just a few flowers, but enough to judge the potential. It
would have taken a couple of years to build up the stock. So from this
information I think it safe to say Enchantment was named in the 40's,
possibly by 1944 or 1945. Without a doubt bulbs would have been sent,
very early on to Wisley for the publicity that could be obtained. I have
talked at length with Ed McRae about this question. He thinks the above
information is about right, but the records are not to be found.

I hope the above is of interest, but to say 1938 is a bit of a stretch
is, in my opinion correct, but perhaps not incorrect to say the
potential of such a variety as Enchantment being produced down the line.

Cheers, John E. Bryan

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