Tony Avent's comprehensive yet concise listing of the Lycoris genus

Jim McKenney via pbs
Thu, 29 Aug 2019 10:30:27 PDT
 Here's a post I made to several local garden groups here in the greater Washington, D.C. area on July 1 of this year. Suddenly, two months later,  it might have relevance for this PBS group, too. Here it is:
   Here's something to think about if you are thinking of starting a Lycoris collection. The nomenclature in this group is a mess, and accurately named plants can be hard to find. And reliable sources such as Tony Avent (who boasts a collection of over 300 named sorts I think) justifiably charge more than the guys who sell dried up stuff of dubious identity and unstated or ambiguous provenance.
Here's the important part. Those dozens (maybe hundreds) of validly published species names of Lycoris are almost all nothospecific. That's a polite way of saying they are phony. In other words, those names don't really  name species, they name hybrids and hybrid groups. Evidently there are only about seven true, sexually reproducing species in this genus. And most of these are currently available now. Those species are aurea (not garden hardy here but easy to grow) , chinensis, longituba, radiata pumila, sanguinea, sprengeri  and maybe a couple of others not yet widely distributed. All of these named ones are currently growing in Washington, D.C. area gardens. This means that we now have the potential to raise new hybrids which will have the same  general genetic background as those hundreds of existing hybrids. If you're willing to wait the several years it takes for seedlings to bloom ( and/or you balk at spending $20-30 dollars for named hybrids) you can inexpensively fill your garden with these plants. Lycoris seeds are big (about the size of a pea) and germinate readily when fresh. 
And who knows, maybe a Lycoris club is in our future! 
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'll be cross pollinating various lycorises today. 

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