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- Crinum and Hymenocallis in Bloom.


The hardy Crinum are in bloom. Well, some are hardy and some may be hardy, since they are growing in very protected spots. All are bulbispermum plants. Those growing in the protected areas include some seedlings from plants naturalized in Louisiana, some South African plants with well-opened flowers and lots of rosy pink color, and some volunteer seedling from these parents. I've crossed a couple of the rosy pink seedlings with each other, since I think the flower form and color is worth working with.

In the open field, three plants of bulbispermum collected from gardens in Texas have survived and thrived here. They are "Mrs. Jordan's Red," "Mrs. Jordan's White," and another garden plant. The white started blooming over a week ago, and the other two are just now blooming. I think a few seeds from "Mrs. Jordan's Red" have volunteered in the mulch not far from the mother plant, which would be a major step up in cold hardiness of Crinum for us here, if actually the case.

Blooming in pots right now are a couple bulbs of [bulbispermum x macowanii] that survived one or two winters in the open garden before I rescued them to pots again. I should pollinate them with some of the "Mrs. Jordan" pollens. I want to get hardiness, the macowanii tulip shape on the flower, and a good red color. That may take a few years....

Crinum macowanii hybrid (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Crinum [macowanii x bulbispermum]? #1022.A
This came labelled as macowanii, but its foliage and bloom time suggest the hybrid listed.

Not yet blooming are all the [variabile x bulbispermum] plants lined out in the open bed.


We planted two different accessions of Hymenocallis liriosme outside greenhouse number 2 last summer. One disappeared completely over the winter; the other one (my #1261) is in full bloom right now. I'm pollinating it as the flowers bloom. These were bulbs collected in the wild in Texas by Thad Howard in about 2001. I don't know exactly where in Texas Thad found these plants.

Hymenocallis liriosme (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Hymenocallis liriosme #1261

The Hymenocallis liriosme that did not make it through the winter was #2108, garden plants thought to have originally come from Louisiana, near New Orleans.

We planted a lot of seedlings of Hymenocallis liriosme out in the same bed with the "Mrs. Jordan" Crinum last summer, and none of them have so far reappeared at all. I fear all are gone. Of the H. occidentalis seedlings planted out in the same bed at the same time, a few have already come up. Hymenocallis may grow here in Indiana, but it is tricky getting them to do it. Microclimate is crucial, and the bulbs may need to be quite good sized even then, if you want them to survive.

Seedlings of Hymenocallis [occidentalis x liriosme] died in the pots before they got big enough to try outdoors in the ground. Because these two species bloom a month or two apart, one has to store the pollen of one to use on the other. This would be a good cross to try again. When you cross two wild species, the F1 plants usually show all properties intermediate between those of the two parents. So this hybrid should bloom in early July, and be hardier than the liriosme parent but less so than the occidentalis parent. They should tolerate light shade well. They should tolerate, or maybe require, more moisture than the occidentalis parent.

Other hybrids of interest are [imperialis x liriosme] and its reverse. I attempted these crosses and did get a few seeds; only time will tell whether I got hybrids or maternal/selfed seeds this time. A step closer to hardier plants would be to use occidentalis in place of liriosme: Make [occidentalis x imperialis], for instance. The F2 from that cross could be hardy and quite interesting.

Pollen Storage

To store pollen, you need to get it quite dry, then freeze it. In dry climates, you can simply air-dry the anthers overnight. In more humid areas, use a drying agent like the blue crystals of Silica Gel. Then seal the dried anthers in something -- not in a gelatin capsule! -- like a microcentrifuge tube with cap. Store these in a freezer until needed. See Tools and Techniques for more information. There is also information at ShieldsGardens.com/info

Good gardening, from here in central Indiana


Look up technical terms in the Glossary of Plant Biology

- Succulent Season

In June we have had more Crinum and Hymenocallis blooming, as well as some of our cactus plants. As I write, the Hemerocallis (daylilies) are moving into full bloom as well.

Cactus and Succulents

Opuntia phaeacantha, from my niece's neighborhood in Centennial, Colorado (a suburb of Denver), put on a great display a couple weeks ago. Plants of this species have naturalized in an old cemetery in the sandy soil of Northwestern Indiana. I think we need to keep an eye on any of these hardy cacti, so they don't go feral on us.

Opuntia phaeacantha (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Opuntia phaeacantha

Echinocereus reichenbachii caespitosus is a small ball cactus with a flower about as big as the ball, around 2 inches across.

Echinocereus reichenbachii caespitosus (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Echinocereus reichenbachii caespitosus

A few feet away in the same bed, and an order of magnitude larger than the Echinocereus, is this Yucca filamentosa. The plant came from my cousin Janice's yard at her farm house outside Wabash, Indiana. As a kid, I saw these often in old cemeteries and outside old farm houses in Indiana. Now, thanks to Janice, I have a couple of my own.

Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa

At least I think it is probably filamentosa. I'm not strong at IDing Yucca and its relatives. In any case, the plants bloomed especially nicely this year.

Hardy Triteleia

Triteleia x-tubergenii is a hybrid that looks alot like T. laxa but seems a bit hardier here. This is a West Coast genus closely related to Brodiaea, some of which are also hardy here. This cultivar grows happily in a bed in the ground, perhaps protected by some large Red Cedar trees just to the northwest of it. The Brodiaea survive and bloom in a raised bed in sand and gravel.

Triteleia x-tubergenii (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Triteleia x-tubergenii

Once upon a time in the Onion Family, Alliaceae, these were moved into the family Themidaceae for awhile. With the most recent revision by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, these are now in Tribe Brodiaeoideae in the Family Asparagaceae, Order Asparagales. Incidentally, the onions are now in the Amaryllis Family, Amaryllidaceae (or the amaryllids are in the onion family, Alliaceae).

Hymenocallis glauca

This little beauty reminds me of Hymenocallis eucharidifolia, but the foliage is glaucous gray-green rather than bright shiny green, and the plants are much hardier in my greenhouse in winter.

Hymenocallis glauca (c) copyright 2011 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Hymenocallis glauca

I have some hybrids between this species and eucharidifolia that are coming along nicely. I'd like to see a somewhat larger flower, or at least wider cup, on the hybrids. The cross is [glauca x eucharidifolia] so the seedlings could be glauca x self. In any case, they have glaucous leaves.

Half of my remaining pots of eucharidifolia seem to have died in the greenhouse over the winter. It did not get as cold as it has in some past winters, but we had lots of rain and snow. The greenhouse floor, where these pots were sitting, flooded a couple of times. I suspect that the winter moisture did them in.

Good gardening, from here in central Indiana


Look up technical terms in the Glossary of Plant Biology

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Last revised on: 01 July 2011
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