lilium pyrophilum

Kenneth Hixson
Wed, 21 May 2003 20:52:02 PDT
Hi, All.
	For those who follow such things, a new species of lily,
Lilium pyrophilum was named in 2002.…
Published in:   Novon: Vol. 12, No. 1. pp. 94–105

 "Lilium pyrophilum M. Skinner & Sorrie is a new taxon from the Sandhills
region of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, where it is known from 16 counties in
the Carolinas and adjacent Virginia. 
Lilium pyrophilum is most closely allied to L. superbum but is
allopatrically distributed and confined to a restricted habitat. Compared
to L. superbum it blooms later, is smaller, has fewer and smaller flowers
with slightly longer tubes, and it has shorter and relatively broader
leaves that are ascending and concentrated in fewer whorls toward the
bottom of the stem. Frequent fires are essential for habitat maintenance in
natural settings, thus the Latin epithet pyrophilum (= fire loving) is used
for the new taxon. We suggest the common name Sandhills lily for this rare
lily, and urge its fullest protection."  

	There is a photo, accessible by scrolling to the bottom of the document at
the URL above.  

	I'm not an expert in such things, but wonder if this is really separate from
L. superbum.  L. superbum is a widely distributed species, and does vary.
different habitat, it would be expected to vary, especially in size and
number of 
flowers, and even in size and number of leaves.  I suspect that it may take
analysis to determine if it is indeed a valid new species.
	It appears to me the name is misleading, as I doubt the lily really
loves fire so much as appreciates the reduced competition from other plants, 
caused by burning trees and brush, something which is true of most plants.  
I have seen it suggested that the name is "propagandistic", with the
that the lily was named in an effort to support the management practice of 
burning its' habitat.  As there are only 250 presently known plants, it
that, if a true species, not simply a form of the widespread L. superbum, it 
would be listed as endangered. Thus, it would be a reason for continued 
burning of its' habitat.  However, claiming that fires are necessary for its' 
continued existance ignores the fact there are other means of controlling 
vegatation, such as hand clearing, etc.  While there are values on both sides 
of managed burning, I resent the naming a lily species to support burning, if 
that is what is happening.
	It will be interesting to see what comes of this new name.
Ken, western Oregon

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