Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum

John Wickham
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 17:41:23 PDT

Funny you should ask. I was just out looking at the population of these lilies where I'd collected the seeds for the Payne Foundation which you later bought. They are definitely stream side, emphasis on side. The stream bed was completely dry, though I have seen a trickle of water there in past seasons. 

The website information is drawn from the Jepson Manual. The "oak canyons" reference is exactly the site where I saw them. These are steep, narrow draws with a stream bed of maybe 3 feet, Leymus and Artemisia on either side, Rubus occasionally. The canyon starts climbing up and at the toe of that transition, you'll find the Humboldt lilies. Then you get Oaks, Bay Laurel, and Sycamores. 

Beautiful hike...lots still blooming (no bulbs other than the lilies though): Delphinium, Phacelia, Eriophyllum, Silene, Keckiella, Eriogonum, Mimulus, Clarkia, Lonicera, Adenostema, and Erigeron immediately come back to mind.

I have my Humboldt lilies planted in a bed shaded by a Jacaranda and it gets some water throughout the year. Also in the bed are Symphicarpos mollis, Polystichum munitum, Geum macrophyllum, and Holodiscus with Polypodium scouleri, Rosa bridgesii and Heuchera elegans at the front. 


--- On Sun, 6/10/12, Jane McGary <> wrote:

From: Jane McGary <>
Subject: [pbs] Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Date: Sunday, June 10, 2012, 3:22 PM

Two years ago I bought seed of Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum from 
the Theodore Payne Foundation. Nearly every seed germinated and grew 
on, and I now have quite a few robust seedlings. I'd like to plant 
them out this fall, but research has me confused about their 
preferred habitat. The Payne Foundation's website describes the 
habitat as clearings in yellow pine forest and chaparral, and 
emphasizes that the plants should be dry in summer. The text on the 
PBS wiki says the plants are often found on streamsides. I don't know 
if the "streams" are seasonal or year-round, however. What can others 
tell me about this?

I'm developing the top of a steep bank in my new garden as a 
chaparral, or garrigue if you prefer the European term, habitat, with 
scattered drought-tolerant shrubs such as Arctostaphylos and Cistus 
spp., punctuated by weathered large rocks from my former (still for 
sale!) home. The soil is nutrient-poor but well "tilled" by the roots 
of the Douglas firs that used to grow there. I'm mulching it with 
small gravel. Among the shrubs I've added some shrubby penstemons and 
other suitable perennials, and of course bulbs. I wish I could put in 
some small species tulips, which would look perfect, but I won't buy 
commercial tulips because of the possibility of spreading viruses to 
my lilies (I have a lot of others, and I can grow them now that I 
have no deer and rabbits). If this is a suitable habitat for L. 
humboldtii, I'd like to plant the young lilies in groups between the shrubs.

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.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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