orange lilies

lilies4meJune 13, 2007

As you can see from my screenname...I do like lilies. In fact I believe I can conservatively say that I've planted several thousand in my gardens and most of them are named lilies.

I'm having something happen that has me totally puzzled. Easily 90% of the lilies that are up this year are orange...a color I'm not particularly partial to. I'm least I think so...that I didn't order or plant orange lilies in any quantity at all. BUT for some reason I have literally hundreds and hundreds of orange asiatic lilies in bloom in the gardens.

Any ideas how this could happen?? Common sense seems to tell me that lilies won't change their color over time back to an orange. I wonder if orange lilies are very cold hardy and reproduce the color lilies slowly die out and the hardy new invaders take over??

Any ideas?? lol...I'm totally dumbfounded by what's happening.

thanks for the help

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I think this is somewhat usual for the Asiatics over time - orange is dominant. Either the other colors die out leaving the hardier orange to proliferate or there's something genetic which spurs a color reversal back to type. I've had maybe a half dozen "Pixies" in all colors but orange scattered around for a few seasons now and they're quite heavily budded so I'll be curious to see if they're the same colors this year as when purchased.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 12:45AM
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Nancy zone 6

The orange do also seem to multiply quite quickly, so could be a combination.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:26AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

i have the same problem. i am trying to learn to live with it. i too would never have purchased or planted this many orange.

strange, isn't it?


    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 1:45AM
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alan(Pensacola, fl)

I have the opposite problem, I have planted a bunch of orange Lilies, maybe 20 or more over the last three years and this year all I have is white. I love the orange ones.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 3:24AM
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The majority of Liliums, wheather they are American hybrids, Asiatic or Oriental, are cross bred. The seeds from these are generally not fertile. But within the genetics of the bulb is the original color. Orange is a common "base" to use for hybridizers to get any variety of orange, yellow, red. Eventually over time the original color will come back because it is genetically dominant. We all have seen this happen to Roses. The root that the branches are grafted to takes over.
I too have thousands of Liliums after 25 years of collecting them. I'm the Lily king of NY. My American Hybrids do not change to orange but seem to go to the yellow shade. My Asiatics seem to like being white.
My experience is that replanting the "flakes" or the basil bulbils gets to same color I bought. The original bulb seems to revert back after 5-7 years on many but not all. On the ones that have those bulblets that grow on the stem those seeds seem to be generally NOT the same as what they grew on. I get very few orange ones but lots of dark red and purple-ish. The purple one I've had for 20 years and holds its color all that time on all the offspring. Likewise the dark red "NEGRE'. When I end up with too many of one thing I dig them up and toss in the ditch. The road is lined with multicolored Lilies for 2 miles from rain washing them away. LOL!!! So I buy more.
I have a few favories.
#1...."Golden Splendor"...Orienpet
#2...."Conca D'Or"........Orienpet
#3...."Nippon"......Asiatic I think....I don't
see this many places. generally ivory
base with bright yellow brush and red
border around the petals. Huge at 11".
short growing...16"
#4...."Tom Puce"
Conca D'Or is the most amazing scented flower. Can smell it across the yard. People stop to ask me what I do to get the Lilies to grow so well. I tell them "leave the darn things alone that's what". I did have a problem with orange once. I made the mistake of digging up and bringing home those orange "ditch Lilies". What a mistake. Took 8 years to get rid of the orange pests. Took over everything.
My wife thinks I'm insane with Lilies. I have other things too. Like 800 IRISES. Fun fun.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:28PM
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"The majority of Liliums, wheather they are American hybrids, Asiatic or Oriental, are cross bred. The seeds from these are generally not fertile."

Actually, the majority of hybrids are fertile. Otherwise breeders wouldn't have gotten further than the first generation in their crosses back in the days before embryo rescue.

Those which aren't particularly fertile are generally the result of wide crosses, are triploid rather than diploid or tetraploid, etc. Black Beauty, to take one rather ancient example, was originally a sterile diploid resulting from the (wide) cross between speciosum & henryi. It gained fertility when it was converted into a tetraploid.

"Eventually over time the original color will come back because it is genetically dominant. We all have seen this happen to Roses. The root that the branches are grafted to takes over."

This seems to confuse two processes. Grafted shrubs can lose the grafted material if the rootstock is allowed to outgrow it, but this isn't reversion or sporting - simply a sign of the greater vigour of the genetically distinct rootstock. Sporting can occur of course (on a different lily list someone recently posted a picture of a Leslie Woodriff flower which had done just this). But, just because a thing can happen doesn't mean it is likely to happen & sporting (somatic mutation) to an orange flowered form is fairly unlikely.

It's more likely that either unflowered (orange) bulbs were planted along with the others (perhaps even as single scales) - anyone who's seen pictures of tulip fields knows that bulb farms need to rogue their crops to remove 'wrong' bulbs, or that seedlings have germinated and grown into orange-flowered bulbs.

Whichever way the orange bulbs got there, once they are present, they only have to be more vigorous than the others to take over. And of course, this explanation takes account of the cases where white takes over as well. It isn't a measure of genetic dominance, just the relative vigour of the different bulbs involved.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 6:16AM
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