Lycoris Report -Kansas City

James Waddick
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:34:50 PDT
Dear PBs friends,

	This has been an extreme gardening year in Kansas City and 
Lycoris are no exception.

	In brief they are early, skimpy and strange. Just a reminder 
that we are in extreme drought this year and experiencing record 
temps. Since July 1 we have had less than 1 in ( 2.5 cm) of rain and 
many days over 100 F ( 40 C and above).

	I grow over a dozen kinds of Lycoris including most of the 
spring foliage species and hybrids of various sorts. They tend to 
bloom this time of year, but they seem to be coming fast and furious.

	The first to bloom was L. longituba and like all Lycoris this 
year there are fewer flowering stems, and shorter stalks. In 
plantings where I'd expect a dozen stalks there are 1 or 2 and in 
some cases fewer than 1 out of 25 stalks. L. chinensis and L. 
squamigera followed quickly and have been blooming for a bout 10 days 

	L. sprengeri started later, but is also still in bloom.  L. 
sprengeri si showing extreme variation in color from deep blue to 
pale pink. Some flowers are blooming at ground level. Since it has 
become very evident that fall rains are a stimulus to bloom and 
surely influence flower stem development including height, this is 
not unexpected, just disappointing.

	The  season continued with L. sanguinea (mostly ssp kiusiana) 
and L. incarnata just starting.  There's even a couple L. caldwellii 
showing up very early.

	In addition to this odd spring and summer, last winter was 
the mildest in years with very no days below 0 F and the lowest temps 
briefly below 10 F. Nearly tropical ! So it should not have been a 
surprise to get 5 healthy stems of L. x haywardii to pop up and 
bloom. This species persists with foliage, but since it emerges in 
fall and foliage remains through winter it usually gets too much 
damage to have enough vigor to bloom. It has been at least 10 years 
since this last bloomed. This sterile hybrid is a cross between L. 
sprengeri and L. radiata pumila and the color looks it:  deep mauve-y 
purple with a shape intermediate. A unique color in the genus.

	The second surprise was a healthy tall clump of L. anhuiensis 
in full bloom. Although this blooms somewhat regularly, I suspect the 
mild winter pushed it to bloom better and at full height.  It seems 
fairly reliably hardy, but on the edge most years. If we had more 
rain and better timing, I suspect it could have produced quite a show 
this season, but I am happy to see it do as well as it is. 
Unfortunately a strong wind storm (without rain) blew 3 of 5 stems 
over. They make excellent 'cut flowers' so still look OK in a vase. I 
was hoping the flowers might produce seed or not to confirm its 
fertility or not.

	A smattering of hybrids have also bloomed, but all as usual, 
just fewer.

	Late bloomers have yet to appear and we hope rain will come 
soon enough to push them along. I 'was' hoping for an extra good 
display of L. radiata based on the mild winter, but I'll know in a 
few weeks. And who knows what other surprises may appear?

	The ultra-reliable and floriferous L. squamigera has been 
almost a bust. Where there should be literally hundreds of blooms 
there are few scattered flowers. Sad, very sad.

	Maybe I should take up rock collecting. 		Best 
		Jim W.

PS	The International Bubs Society journal Herbertia has an 
extensive article on the genus in its most recent publication. 
Speaking kindly it is unfortunate in its use of old and invalid 
synonyms that will only serve to confuse the taxonomy in the genus. I 
have yet to read the entire article so reserve judgement.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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