Lycoris (Surprise Lily, Hurricane Lily) Photo Study Gallery
Juniper Level Botanic Garden - An Ex-Situ Conservation Garden
Our Mission is to Collect, Study, Propagate, and Share
As of 2018, JLBG has just over 25,000 taxa of living plants, making the collection one of the most diverse in the world. Fundraising for an operational endowment to preserve the garden is underway, administered by NC State University. If you'd like to help preserve the gardens and plant collections for future generations, you can do so with a tax-deductible contribution at JLBG.org and click on the Donate Link.
At Juniper Level Botanic Garden, part of our mission is to educate and share both plants and information. This photo/informational gallery is devoted to cataloging as many forms as possible. It is our hope that this photographic study gallery can also prevent duplicate use of names and prevent confusion in the trade.
Lycoris (Surprise Lily, Hurricane Lily, Spider Lily) have long been a geophyte of interest, and since our climate is perfect for their growth, we are attempting to assemble a complete lycoris collection, and sort out some of the taxonomic misinformation, as well as to make many unavailable clones available to more gardeners. Here at JLBG, we currently grow all of the Lycoris species and over 700 unique clones, making this most likely the largest lycoris collection in the world.
Based on the extensive body of DNA research, and confirmed in our field trials, there are only 6 (possibly 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. Regions with extremely cold temperatures that start in very early fall may actually delay foliage emergence, making the fall foliage lycoris survive better in regions with fluctuating winter temperatures.
Typically, lycoris species with fall-emerging leaves are winter-hardy to Zone 7….some clones slightly more, some slightly less.
Fall emerging foliage Lycoris species (zone 7 and warmer)
- Lycoris aurea
- Lycoris radiata
Lycoris 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
- Lycoris guangxiensis (photos appears to be L. chinensis)
All other lycoris are hybrids. Hybrids between 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 hybrids 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.
Many of these Lycoris hybrid group names are long established, most originally published as true species, which DNA has since shown to be hybrids. Other names are unpublished and assigned by us as working names for the hybrids we grow.
Fall x Fall leafed hybrids (Zone 7)
- x albiflora (syn: L. elsiae) – aurea (fall) x radiata (fall)
Spring x Spring leafed hybrids (Zone 5)
- x caldwellii – chinensis (spring) x longituba (spring)
- x flavescens – (same as x chejuensis) - chinensis (spring) x sanguinea (spring)
- x incarnata (same as x squamigera), but may be worth conserving if L. x squamigera is designated as a single clone
- 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)
Fall leafed x Spring leafed 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
Tri-specific Fall leaved x Spring leaved hybrids (2/3 spring x 1/3 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)
Tri-specific Fall leaved x Spring leaved hybrids (1/3 spring x 2/3 fall)
- x radichinaurea (unpublished) – radiata (fall) x aurea (fall) x chinensis (spring)
- x rosaurea (unpublished) – radiata (fall) x aurea (fall) x sprengeri (spring)
We hope you enjoy the lycoris gallery. If you have photos of plants not included, we'd love to add them...just email us at email@example.com