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ID help, please

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 12:29

Bought a bulb at a roadside produce stand yesterday from a very nice, very old guy, he said these bulbs have been in his yard for decades. I think it may be a Crinum but the common name that came with it is not one I've heard associated with Crinum before. The man's wife had written down "Oriential Lilium" for him to tell people what it was and he had a pic of what looked like pink Crinum flowers, not like a Stargazer or tiger lily. Any confirmation or other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for looking!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ID help, please

Not the world's best specimen to evaluate but it sure looks crinum-like to me! The center ridged, narrow foliage is pretty characteristic. Can say with assurity that it is NOT an oriental lily :-)

If you are researching, check out Crinum bulbispermum, aka 'grass lily'. A pink flower that bears a strong resemblance to an oriental lily.


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RE: ID help, please

GG, thanks for the excellent response!

Not what I would refer to as Oriental lily either, but I'm transplanted here from OH, and some things are just different. And no idea what other candidates might fit such a description. The south has a lot of cool bulbs I'd never heard of before, and I've only ever noticed white Crinums around here.

The pic he showed me looked a lot like the first and third pics here. It does look pretty sad from being dug up, but enough of a visual to rule out the kind of lily I would call Oriental, or Amaryllis. It may be next fall until this makes flowers, or the year after, these pink beauties are more than welcome whenever they are ready.

From his description, I was expecting a picture of Lycoris squamigera, but it was definitely not that, with much foliage showing in company with the much darker pink flowers.


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RE: ID help, please

You might get some firmer ID confirmation if you posted this in the Amaryllis forum, since crinums are a member of that family. While I'm sort of familiar with these plants, they are not something grown with much frequency in my area and I may be missing something significant.

As with a plant family that has many different but rather similar looking members, you may not get any solid confirmation until after it blooms!


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RE: ID help, please

Definitely a crinum. I am guessing Milk and Wine. First, these are by far the most commonly grown ones. Second, they have the pink and white stripes like in your pictures. Third, he said they have been in his yard for decades. Milk and Wine.

It doesn't look like a very big bulb, so it may be two or even three years before you get blooms.

Crinums are one of my passions. I grow about a dozen varieties of them. Here are some tips to help you get to bloom more quickly.

They like manure. ALOT. Top dress them with it (bagged is fine) spring and fall each year. They like water. They are very drought tolerant too, which is great, but they grow and bloom much better with consistent water. Once you get them to blooming size, you will find that everytime you get a good rain, they will put up stalks and bloom.

Oh, and Milk and Wine lilies will bloom repeatedly from June(here) into August.

Finally, know that although they make offsets pretty steadily, they resent being disturbed. Plant them somewhere that you can leave them for many years and divide them only for an extremely good reason. If you do divide, you MUST dig up the entire clump (or you will damage and ruin bulbs). This requires a good shovel and a strong back. If you plant them in well worked well tended soil, it will be easi-ER, but not easy.
Be sure to work lots of manure back into the hole and replant the largest bulbs. The size of baseballs seems to be approximately the right blooming size.

Finally, if you plant the bulbs deeper (though you will want to see some neck above the soil) they will bloom better. But, if you plant them shallower, they will offset more quickly.

My Milk and Wines are in their first bloom cycle of the year. I spotted six stalks coming up in one of my older clumps (about 8 years old) this morning. They are some of the most wonderful, easy care plants you can grow in the Deep South. Enjoy!


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RE: ID help, please

Thanks again, GG, appreciate the help!

Hey that's awesome, thanks Donna!

Last summer I found some huge bulbs with foliage just like this hidden in the "back 40" at my Mom's house, surrounded by Cannas. Three of them, the biggest about the size of a softball. I put one in a sunny spot in her yard, and the other 2 are here.

Can't wait to see what they eventually do...! This new one and those.

From digging those up, I also thought this one looked kind of small, what I can see sticking up. I gave it to my Mom yesterday and told her full, full sun. Hope she doesn't put it in one of her spots she only thinks is full sun... she's got a few denial spots, especially as her trees grow.

There are so many cool bulbs down here. I've found almost a dozen different ones just in this yard, especially when drought killed a lot of the grass. Only a few are still mysteries, the suspense is fun!

Don't do much with manure but have compost I can share with these bulbs.

Does the foliage ever stand up straight on Crinums? This recently disturbed bulb notwithstanding, I never never see a clump of them with upright foliage besides maybe a few of the leaves. Why do they always look so beat-up?


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RE: ID help, please

I believe they always look so beat up because the vast majority of folks who grow them put them in the middle of their grass and give them zero care. A lot of folks dismiss crinums with "Oh, My Grandmother had that. (sniff)"

Believe me. When they see them in my garden in good rich organic soil and plenty of water, their tune changes in a hurry. They are magnificent plants.

Re: foliage. It can vary widely from one variety to another. Milk and Wine lily foliage tends to be wide, long, and wavy. In mid summer, it sometimes develops rusty streaks. I cut the rust off to keep the clumps neat. My clumps are probably 3 feet wide at this point but will get more like 4.5 to 5 feet wide by August, and the foliage and blooms stand a good 3.5 to 4.0 feet tall. They are equivalent to a nice sized shrub.

Mrs. James Hendry, on the other hand, has very neat very upright foliage. My clumps are about 4 years old and are thickening up nicely. Of the crinums I grow, Mrs. Henry has the neatest, most compact foliage. The blooms are blush pink, almost white, and they repeat from mid summer into fall.

Elizabeth Traub is also a neat plant. Its foliage is a bit longer than Mrs. Hendry, but much shorter than Milk and Wine. The color of the blooms is luscious. It is a deep rose red, very similar to Ellen Bosanquet, but it repeats. My bulbs were planted the same year as Mrs. James Hendry. They have been slower to clump up, but they are looking good this year. Their blooms are also about six inches higher than Mrs. Hendry.

Hope this helps you!


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RE: ID help, please

Thanks for the input! It does help, I appreciate it. It's not easy to get to know some of these cold-hating bulbs in a hurry, they take time and I haven't been in AL for long.

As long as this thread is still around, will post pics of the blooms from this bulb, whenever that is...

I think the big pink flowers blooming in front of the fire station at the moment are Crinums. If I could remember to take the camera on a trip of errands...


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