Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum

Jim McKenney
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 17:36:28 PDT
Jane McGary wrote: "By the way, don't tell me I can't grow these southern California lilies in Oregon. The new place is in a banana belt, and I am 
positively reveling in zone denial."

There is no need to deny your zone, Jane, and Lilium humboldtii ocellatum does not need banana belt conditions. 

Throughout the early part of the twentieth century this species was grown (from collected bulbs, many doubtless from Carl Purdy) in European and British gardens and in the northeastern states of the US.That it rarely became established had nothing to do with harsh winter conditions, but rather with its need for dry, hot summer conditions.  

Lilium humboldtii ocellatum is believed to be the seed parent of  the once famous Bellingham hybrid lilies developed by David Griffiths in Bellingham, Washington between the two world wars (from seed provided by Carl Purdy and thought to be from plants of what at that time was called Lilium humboldtii magnificum - our ocellatum - pollinated by other species). Griffiths raised literally hundreds of thousands of seedlings, and after evaluating those selected a score or so for further propagation. After disposing of the original hundreds of thousands of seedlings (how, I wonder), the selected plants were propagated into their thousands for distribution to the public. They must have been amazingly vigorous. 

It's distribution in nature (at least as an elevation blind easterner sees the distribution of California's plants)  is no indication of its cold tolerance. 

Jim McKenney

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