Sulphur Queen

Lee Poulsen
Sun, 04 Jul 2010 20:45:01 PDT
Scott Ogden in Garden Bulbs for the South spells it 'Sulphur Queen'. He 
also has this to say:
"During the 1960s Cincinnati, Ohio, breeder Len Woelfle created a series 
from the same parents as 'Sulphur Queen' [I. narcissiflora x I. 
amancaes], the finest of which was a yellow and white bicolor named 
'Pax'. He also developed several graceful, greenish gold flowers from 
crosses between I. amancaes and I. longipetala. These long-necked plants 
(known as the dancing dolls) have never become common in the bulb trade, 
but they are grown by a few fanciers of the genus. They seem to thrive 
in the South and are entirely hardy."

'Sulphur Queen' is easy to find and for me, grows much like and as 
easily as the 'Festalis' type hybrids. I got some seeds of Ismene 
amancaes from Charles Hardman a few years ago when his main plant of it 
finally flowered after something like 20 years. I now have a couple of 
bulbs of it that seem to be growing well, but only one has flowered for 
me a only once so far. They grow very differently than the previously 
mentioned ones, popping up in late spring and going dormant a few months 
later. Other than that it isn't very difficult to grow. I keep them 
completely dry during the winter. Also their foliage is much less tough 
than the hybrids and breaks or tears very easily. I've read that there 
is a concerted effort to repopulate them in their native Peru and they 
are planting thousands of seeds every year in nurseries and replanting a 
large protected native region far outside of Lima somewhere that is now 
a national park or plant refuge. None of my email queries into 
availability of seeds or bulbs for purchase has been responded to. The 
yellow of I. amancaes is intense and beautiful.

How did these earlier American breeders get a hold of I. amancaes 
material and also flower it in order to breed it? And where are all 
these other hybrids Ogden and others have mentioned. I've never seen 
them for sale or growing anywhere.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10A

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