Lycoris names

James Waddick
Thu, 29 Aug 2019 09:40:01 PDT
Dear Lee and all ,

	Scientific study of the genus Lycoris is a more difficult than some others. The gap between foliage and  flowers has confused some, the wide spread distribution adds another level of mystery and some have been in cultivation and humanly distributed for many years, perhaps centuries and often adding new names along the way. Add that many names have been applied to the same or similar species, some species were described from plants that may not have been the same ones introduced into cultivation and combine that with a misunderstanding of the rules of Plant Names.

	The ICBN and the ICNCP  ( Iinternational Code for Botanical Nomenclature and International Code for Names of Cultivated Plants) are sets of ‘rules’ developed and refined over many years by botanist around the world.  This is to insure that plants are named correctly, do not duplicate names of existing species and reflect some natural reality.  Both of these sets of rules apply to various Lycoris.
Primarily any plant population must be defined or diagnosed in a way to show its unique characters: physical or biochemical characters that are unique to this population of plants.  Then the plant is named following rules of Latin grammar ( briefly). The next step is publication and again their are rules about the kind of publication - most importantly plants can’t be named as a new species on their sales list or on a web site.  Generally newly named and described species are published in a respected and accepted scientific journals including evidence of distinctive nature, photos, and supporting data.  There’s a number of other technicalities all described in the rules, but the name must be accepted by botanist in the same or allied areas of study. 

	So Lee, I don’t assume to know much about tender species I cannot grow (mostly the fall foliage sub-genus), but  I do understand Nomenclature and Taxonomy and I consider many of the names presented illegimimate, invalid,  confusing  or unacceptable. My main reasons. 1. Fertillity. Accepted species name apply whether the plant produces fertile seed or no seed. Some plants reproduce strictly vegetatively without any sexual exchanges. 2. Unacceptable names. The ICBN very clearly does not allow names such as ‘sprenguinea', ‘sprengensis' and all other similar combinations. Unpublished names are totally frowned on and should never be used without supporting data. Some of these names from your list should be considered cultivars and treated as such. 

	Lycoris needs some serious study on a monographic level. There is no Lycoris monograph. Two useful publications that I can recall are ’Synopsis of the Genus Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae)”
 by Kurita et al , 1998 and Roh, "Identification and classification of the genus Lycoris using molecular markers", 2001. Neither of these is the wished for study and both have major gaps.. Instead i can recommend The Plant List which gives the accepted names of 24 species:… <…>

	There’s a whole other discussion on the use of cultivar names and problems with what is being published. There are hundreds of names thrown out pretty wildly with little to support or distinguish names ( I’ve done it myself). I have probably bored every PBS member by now so hope this offers a bit of help. 		Good luck		Jim W. 

On Aug 28, 2019, at 1:18 AM, Lee Poulsen <> wrote:

I was perusing through some of the new selections of Lycoris recently offered by Plant Delights, when I noticed that a couple of varieties I ordered in the past now have different species or nothospecies names than what are on my labels. I looked further and noticed that some species were now listed as nothospecies (they put a × in front of the species name where there wasn’t one before). Then I noticed that there were a lot more synonyms than before. This caused me to recall that Tony Avent (of Plant Delights) answered a question about Lycoris hardiness with a rather extended reply describing all the different Lycoris species and nothospecies. I hunted it down and read it more carefully this time. And I realized it was a definitive listing of the current understanding of the Lycoris genus. I thought maybe it had been incorporated into the PBS wiki, but it has not. I then tried hunting for a more explanatory version of this list on the Plant Delights website but was unsuccessful. 

So I would like (realizing one doesn’t always get what they want) some kind of real definitive list, all in one place, giving all this information, all the former names of what are now synonyms, the nothospecies' suspected or known parent species, and possibly some kind of more verbose descriptions, like the article Jim Waddick wrote that is referenced on the wiki, of each species and nothospecies (at least all the ones that have been available from Jim Waddick, Plant Delights, Telos Rare Bulbs, etc. for the past couple of decades).
And add in the information on Lycoris (×)haywardii being merely some form of of Lycoris sprengeri that I found hidden in a later post from Tony that I had previously not paid sufficient attention to until perusing his new Lycoris offerings. Maybe this information could be incorporated into the wiki.
Oh, and some references or links to the articles and DNA analyses that are alluded to below would be very nice, too.

And please add my thanks to Tony for this concise summary of so much information that he provided us almost a year ago, that I didn’t realize was so comprehensive!


> On Sep 12, 2018, at 1:47 PM, Tony Avent <> wrote:
> Hi Jane;
> Hopefully this will help.
> Based on the extensive body of DNA research, and confirmed in our field trials, there are only 7 lycoris species, with 1 still tbd...a far cry from the 13-20 often cited.
> Two of the lycoris species have foliage that emerges in fall, and five have foliage that emerges in late winter/early spring.  Because all lycoris are winter-growing, the foliage emergence times determines their ability to withstand winter cold.  Areas with extremely cold temperatures in early fall that remains so all winter may actually delay foliage emergence, making the plant more winter hardy than in conditions with fluctuating winter temperatures.
> Those species with fall-emerging leaves are generally winter-hardy to Zone 7....some clones slightly more, some slightly less.
> Fall foliage (zone 7)
> Lycoris aurea
> Lycoris radiata
> Those species with spring-emerging leaves are generally winter-hardy to Zone 5, possibly colder
> Spring Foliage (Zone 5)
> Lycoris chinensis
> Lycoris longituba
> Lycoris sanguinea
> Lycoris shaanxiensis (virtually everything in commerce is x straminea) with fall foliage
> Lycoris sprengeri
> Tbd
> Lycoris guangxiensis
> All other lycoris are hybrids. Hybrids of two spring-leaf species retains the Zone 5 hardiness, but crosses of a spring-leaf and a fall-leaf species, always produces offspring with fall foliage, so the hardiness of these always reverts to Zone 7.  In theory, crosses with two spring species and one fall species could delay leaf emergence enough to increase winter hardiness.
> Lycoris Hybrids
> Many of these names are long established, most originally published as species, which DNA has shown to be hybrids.  Other names are unpublished and only used by us as working names for the hybrids we grow.
> Fall x Fall (Zone 7)
> Two species hybrids
> x albiflora (syn: L. elsiae) - aurea (fall) x radiata (fall)
> Spring x Spring (Zone 5)
> Two species hybrids
> x caldwellii - chinensis (spring) x longituba (spring)
> x chejuensis - chinensis (spring) x sanguinea (spring)
> x flavescens - chinensis (spring) x sanguinea (spring)
> x incarnata (same as x squamigera)
> x sprenguinea (unpublished) - sprengeri (spring) x sanguinea (spring)
> x sprengensis (unpublished) - sprengeri (spring) x chinensis (spring)
> x squamigera (same as elegans, incarnata) - - longituba (spring) x sprengeri (spring)
> Fall x Spring (Zone 7)
> Two species hybrids
> x chinaurea (unpublished)- aurea (fall) x chinensis (spring)
> x cinnabarina - aurea (fall) x sanguinea (spring)
> x rosea (same as jacksoniana) - radiata (fall) x sprengeri (spring)
> x sprengurea - aurea (fall x sprengeri (spring)
> x straminea (syn: houdyshelii) - radiata (fall) x chinensis (spring)
> x rubroaurantiaca - undetermined by DNA
> Three species hybrids (2 spring x 1 fall)
> x longitosea (unpublished) - longituba (spring) x sprengeri (spring) x radiata (fall)
> x roseguinea (unpublished) - radiata (fall) x sprengeri (spring) x sanguinea (spring)
> x rosensis (unpublished) - radiata (fall) x sprengeri (spring) x chinensis (spring)
> Three species hybrids (2 fall x 1 spring)
> x radichinaurea (unpublished) - radiata (fall) x aurea (fall) x chinensis (spring)
> x rosaurea (unpublished) - radiata (fall) x aurea (fall) x sprengeri (spring)
> Tony Avent
> Proprietor
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