Lilium rosthornii; was RE: A neat lily for this time of year

Jim McKenney
Thu, 27 Jul 2006 13:23:00 PDT
Arnold wrote: "I grow both henryi and rosthornii.   Rosthornii flowers a bit
for me.  Both get three to four hours of sun each day. They are strikingly
similar and one of the methods to distinguish is the shape of the seed

Right, Arnold.

Some of our members may not know the history involved here. 

Although Lilium rosthornii was named in 1900 (it had been discovered in
1891), it never became well known in the west. In fact, there is some
question about whether it was ever known as a live plant in the west until
rather recently. Until Chen Yi began to send out bulbs, I think it's fair to
say that virtually no one in the west had any real idea of what it was.
Early twentieth century books make vague references to its similarity to
Lilium henryi, but virtually nothing was really known about it. Some simply
regarded it as a synonym of Lilium henryi. If an old photograph exists, I
have not seen it. Writing in 1938, Col. Grey said " Collected by A. von
Rosthorn in Szechuan in 1891, and unknown since that date." 

Its reintroduction at the end of the twentieth century caused a real buzz in
the lily world. Right away, those who see only the flower could not
understand why it wasn't simply Lilium henryi; maybe it is! 

Lilium henryi itself was discovered by Augustine Henry in 1888 and named by
Baker later that year. That was only three years before the discovery of L.
rosthornii. Unlike Lilium rosthronii, Lilium henryi made a smooth transition
into cultivation.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where braised lilies are the
order of the day. 

More information about the pbs mailing list