Lycoris aurea

James Waddick
Wed, 20 Sep 2006 07:05:35 PDT
Dear Joe and all;
	Lycoris aurea is one of the most mis - id'ed of all Lycoris 
in the commercial trade. The true species is readily identified by 
its large size (biggest in the genus) and succulent foliage. It is 
also frost sensitive so depending on a given year's temperature range 
the foliage may be so damaged in cold years that it won't bloom.

	It is also unusual in that there are a variety of fairly 
common 'cytoraces'. These are essentially similar looking plants that 
vary  in the chromosome number and thus fertility. The common 2N 
number is  probably 12, but various cytoraces have 12, 13, 14, 15, or 
16 chromosomes each. There may be others, too. These can be 
distinguished with some difficulty and each varies in fertility with 
odd numbered races being considerably less fertile, than even 
numbered races.  Generally, L. aurea produces fertile seed, but with 
these restrictions and complexity.

	L. traubii is often confused with this species, but L. 
traubii is readily distinguished by its much smaller size (leaves 1/3 
the size of L. aurea); its limited distribution in Taiwan and 
southern Japan, and the fact that at bloom there is no trace of leaf 
bases at the base of the flower talk as there is in L. aurea.

	Since there are a number of yellow flowered Lycoris, these 
may all be ID'ed as L. aurea including L. traubii, L. chinensis, L. 
caldwellii and possibly others. People not familiar ith the range of 
Lycoris assume that all yellow flowered must be AUREA as th name 

	Given all this, the true L. aurea is not that common in 
cultivation and suited to only to mild climate gardens. In the past 
most Lycoris identified as L. aurea have come from Japan where L. 
aurea is not native. Now the true L. aurea is being imported from 
from China where it is native (also "Indochina" and south).

	But as Tony says, it is a beauty. 		Best		Jim W.
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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