Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lasiocarpa's Children

As the leftover rain from hurricane Gustav pitter-patters against our Iowa window panes, it's a good day to look at some other tropical visitors: toad lily hybrids of Tricyrtis lasiocarpa from Taiwan.
There are two closely related tricyrtis species from Taiwan; formosana and lasiocarpa. In fact at one time lasiocarpa was classified as T. formosana Amethystina (the blue formosana). Both are rather winter tender; formosana usually being classified Z6 and lasiocarpa as Z7. Here in Iowa formosana is definitely borderline, and it carries over to its hybrids, which tend to dwindle. However, lasiocarpa is marginally hardy here in 5a, and its hybrids are surprisingly rock hardy. I'm not totally sure whether this is all a matter of winter hardiness, for I get the feeling formosana and its hybrids aren't keen on our dry summers. I will say there is an exception to formosana's wimpiness in our garden: T. Autumn Glow is supposedly a selection of pure formosana, and it is so vigorous here that I've had to put a barrier around it so it can't totally take over the flower bed it's planted in.
Here are three of lasiocarpa's children: first, T. Taipei Silk, which most closely resembles lasiocarpa. It is just fabulously lovely, and as the weather cools, its flowers get bluer and bluer. Second is T. Togen, an unspotted hybrid of lasiocarpa and hirta. At bottom is T. Blue Wonder, with a heavily spotted flower.
All the lasiocarpa hybrids have just a terminal spray of flowers, but the flowers are fairly good sized and quite striking, as is the foliage, which tends to be shiny green.

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I'm going to garner some information from this post. You have done a lot more research on the flowers!! I, too, posted today on my tricyrtis. Don't know the origins, but I'm enjoying them! :-) I do have "Blue Wonder," but not the others.
Hi Don,
It's definitely Tricyrtis time over here too! I was wondering when yours would start showing up here. Our 'Amethystina' is having a banner year, after having spent about 4 yrs getting established (it was a tiny mail order plant originally). Currently, we have 3 cultivars blooming and more to come!
Shady... do you like Blue Wonder? Seems like a lot of foliage for so few flowers.

IVG.. the toadies are kind of addicting. Hope we don't have an early freeze again this year.

Don, My little Blue Wonder gets a bit more "bright light" than some of the others. It has quite a number of buds (there are two plants there). Also, this is year number one for this plant at my place. So far, I really like it.
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