Lilium formosanum

Tony Avent
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 15:36:34 PDT

Funny that you should mention Lilium formosanum as I am currently
botanizing in Taiwan and one of my goals was to observe this species in
situ.  At elevations of 3000', it reaches 5-6' tall and indeed as you
climb, the stature drops to plants that flower at only 1' tall when you
reach the alpine regions above 9500' elevation.  It will be very
interesting to see if these "dwarf" forms have changed genetically when
they are grown at lower elevations.  As you also indicate, it typically
has only one flower per plant, but where they have been transplanted into
cultivation, some stalks have as many as 8-12 flowers.  So far, all plants
have purple striping on the flower backs.  These alpine forms should love
the weather in the UK.

> My sole contribution to the Flora of Tropical East Africa has been to
> write
> the account of the Liliaceae - this sounds quite grand, but in fact the
> only
> representative is the alien Lilium formosanum! Nevertheless this warrants
> a
> 'fascicle' (individual portion of the work) of its own, and is available
> from RBG Kew for the sum of £12.90 (one folded sheet of A4 paper inside
> covers!). Please note that the author does not receive royalties.
> Anyway, in researching this species I came to the conclusion that var.
> pricei is probably not tenable, as there seems to be a continuum of
> stature
> in the wild, and that the minuscule things in cultivation under that name
> are probably the result of selections from selections brought back by
> William Price from 'Formosa' (Taiwan) in 1912. These would probably be
> best
> treated as L. formosanum Pricei Group in horticulture. Incidentally,
> William
> Price lived about a mile up the valley here and is remembered by some
> older
> residents: he accompanied H.J. Elwes of Colesbourne on his journey to
> Taiwan. He also collected a clone of Pleione formosana long-known as P.
> pricei, but now called P. formosana 'Oriental Grace'.
> The other thing that is very striking is that in wild/naturalised
> situations
> it is almost always single-flowered, whereas in cultivation it can be
> multi-flowered. I have not seen the JC Raulston stock (mentioned by Jim
> Waddick in starting this thread)  in flower, but have seen its towering
> capsules in winter and thought it was magnificent even then. L. formosanum
> is in general not a great success in the UK, perhaps because of virus, but
> also I think it needs a hotter summer than we can provide (even in a good
> year).
> John Grimshaw
> Dr John M. Grimshaw
> Sycamore Cottage
> Colesbourne
> Nr Cheltenham
> Gloucestershire GL53 9NP
> Tel. 01242 870567
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list

Tony Avent
USDA Zone 7b, (0-10F winter, 90-100F Summer)
Plant Delights Nursery
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC  27603, USA
ph 919.772.4794
fx 919.772.4752

"I consider every plant hardy until I've killed it least three
times."  - Avent

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