Lycoris aurea var. surgens ??

Kelly Irvin
Tue, 04 Sep 2007 08:37:12 PDT
Dear Jim:

I think I will have to contest you here in the general nature of your 
conclusion. I am not defending that Adam has the true Lycoris aurea var. 
surgens. I agree with you in general as to the tender nature of Lycoris 
aurea, and compared to all other species of this genus. I have only 
grown the version you sent me, I believe properly identified as L. aurea 
var. aurea, and I have even more experience with L. aurea var. surgens. 
Of these two, L. aurea var. surgens is larger in all parts and hardier 
than the other.

I could be splitting hairs here, because the conditions my plants are in 
creates an artificial environment. My surgens have stayed in foliage 
down to 13°F, BUT they were in a winter house where the heater had gone 
out. When I intervened at that temperature, frost had only just started 
developing where leaf blades were bending over. These frost locations 
showed damage after temperatures came back to normal, but the foliage 
stayed erect and in growth.

I do not believe nature in temperate North America really encourages 
this scenario. Chances are frost will develop at much higher 
temperatures than 13°F, and, chances are, damage will occur wherever the 
frost collects, which is usually on the whole leaf. The experience of 
the above described event, though, should at least lead to a theory that 
under covered protection with a light bulb, even going below 32°F, could 
protect this plant. This is an extra effort, but I know some folks do 
this for plants they consider special but for which they fear freeze damage.

I do suggest, however, that Adam may not have the described surgens 
because he is collecting seed. I've never harvested a viable seed off of 
hundreds of flower stalks. The literature says it is possible, but out 
of the ordinary. The foliage will be pointed on the end and will start 
pushing up in October here in zone 6. It will be about an inch wide and 
two feet long at maturity. var. aurea seeds easily.

Several years ago I visited with Sue Madison who showed me Lycoris aurea 
from two different sources; I don't remember the variations if they were 
even known, but these were located in an unheated cabin that had a glass 
covered room and a large flower box or trough for these to grow in. 
Temperatures can reach zero in that neck of the woods. How low in the 
glass covered room? I don't know. Frost collection? I don't know.

I agree that moisture crystallization on the leaves of Lycoris aurea 
KILLS. Whether it can kill at 32°F, 22°F, 12°F, or whatever, I don't 
have enough information. I am not convinced that dry freezing 
temperatures cause the same damage.

Man, oh, man, Jim. I sure wish you were still peddling Lycoris. I still 
need so many species. Supposedly, L. traubii is common, but I've never 
found it. I've found L. incarnata from two different sources, FINALLY, 
but they are sending up foliage in the fall, and I thought they were 
spring foliage species. This makes me suspicious, but Ping-Sheng and 
Kurita could have been wrong.

Has anybody got speculations on the Lycoris shaanxiensis that is being 
marketed these days? Chen Yi is probably the original source for all of 
them. I've been evaluating for several years, unwilling to classify it 
as such. I am under the impression it is supposed to be spring foliage, 
but mine are definitely fall. It reminds me of the descriptions of L. 
xalbiflora, when in bloom, but the foliage is dark green without a 
stripe and narrow like L. radiata. It's earlier than most Lycoris 
foliage and seems more tender than L. radiata. Flower color is very 
creamy, almost buttery and appears to be infertile.

Mr. Kelly M. Irvin
10850 Hodge Ln
Gravette, AR 72736
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 6a/b

James Waddick wrote:
> Dear Adam et al,
> 	This is an interesting species. According to the best I can 
> find, this species is endemic to Upper Burma and like all ssp of L. 
> aurea sub- tropical in growth demands. In my experience and 
> understanding all L. aurea are extremely frost tender and if the 
> winter green  foliage (which is the most succulent in the genus) is 
> exposed to even light freezes it will collapse and bloom is 
> compromised.

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