‘Yi Xian Chun Tao’: An Ornamental Lycoris longituba Cultivar

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  • 1 Jiangsu Key Laboratory for the Research and Utilization of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Botanical Garden Mem. Sun Yat-Sen), Nanjing, 210014, China
  • | 2 Nanjing Lidao Modern Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., Nanjing, 210043, China
  • | 3 Nanjing Puhou Ecological Technology Co., Ltd., Nanjing, 210033, China
  • | 4 Jiangsu Key Laboratory for the Research and Utilization of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Botanical Garden Mem. Sun Yat-Sen), Nanjing, 210014, China

Lycoris is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family that contains ≈20 species and is native to eastern and southern Asia, mainly China and Japan (Tsi and Meerow, 2000). There are 15 species (10 that are endemic) in China, and its native habitat is the moist, wooded slopes of eastern China (Hsu et al., 1994; Ji and Meerow, 2000). Because of the special flower shape and flowering biological habit, in English they have common names such as Spider Lily, Surprise Lily, Hurricane Lily, and Magic Lily (Knox, 2006). They are bulbous perennials,

Lycoris is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family that contains ≈20 species and is native to eastern and southern Asia, mainly China and Japan (Tsi and Meerow, 2000). There are 15 species (10 that are endemic) in China, and its native habitat is the moist, wooded slopes of eastern China (Hsu et al., 1994; Ji and Meerow, 2000). Because of the special flower shape and flowering biological habit, in English they have common names such as Spider Lily, Surprise Lily, Hurricane Lily, and Magic Lily (Knox, 2006). They are bulbous perennials, their bulbs are subglobose to ovoid, they are dormant in the summer, they bloom in late summer to fall, and then they grow in autumn, winter, and spring. When they bloom, the flower stems are drawn from the base of the bulb, which bears a terminal umbel of four to eight flowers. The flowers divide into two types: tube flowers and symmetrical spider shapes on both sides. The leaves can be linear or strap-shaped. Their abundant flower color and special flower shape make them excellent ornamental plants, which have been used in gardens, as cut flowers, and in landscapes. In addition, they are an important medicinal plant. The bulb contains various Amaryllidaceae alkaloids, in which the galantamine is the most known representative and is used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They also display a range of biological activities, including those that are antitumor and antibacterial (Cahlíková et al., 2020). The species Lycoris longituba is a long-tube Surprise Lily, which is endemic to China and is distributed naturally in a limited range of two provinces (Anhui and Jiangsu) (Deng et al., 2006). It has spring foliage and is the earliest flowering species in Lycoris. It has the wonderful surprise of white to off-white trumpet flowers borne on tall flower stalks in late summer to early autumn.

Origin

In the wild, natural hybridization commonly happened in Lycoris plants, which leads to generating many special single plants or natural hybrid groups with different flower colors and shapes of high ornamental traits (Knox, 2006; Kurita and Hsu, 1996). Our research team has been engaged in germplasm collection and breeding of Lycoris for more than 20 years, and more than 300 germplasm resources are stored in our germplasm bank. Our breeding goal is new varieties with high ornamental value, such as novel colors, flower shape, and fragrance. Through cross-breeding and artificial selection, we have obtained many single plants with these excellent ornamental traits. The new cultivar Yi Xian Chun Tao is an excellent individual plant selected from the natural population of L. longituba collected from Baohua Mountain in Jiangsu Province. It has a long flower tube like L. longituba, but the pink distributed on the white flower is special. The bulb was reproduced asexually through bulb cutting. After 4 years of growth, the small bulbs flowered and were subjected to distinctness, uniformity, and stability testing. Results show that they were consistent with the selected excellent individual plants in terms of flower color, shape, and leaves. All ornamental traits performed well and were stable. It was then named and was registered on the website of Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association (2018). After several years of observation and evaluation of ornamental characters, we believe it is valuable to be promoted and used as a new and excellent variety.

Description

The bulb is oval with black skin and is 7 to 8 cm in diameter. In July, the flower stem is drawn from the base of the bulb, when it grows 65 to 80 cm, and all the flowers bloom gradually. Each bearing has an umbel of five to seven flowers, the buds are pink, and the main color of the petal is white with a pink tip (Fig. 1A), clearly different from the pure white of L. longituba (Fig. 1B). It has classic trumpet-shaped flowers with the typical long, funnel-shaped perianth tube of 4 to 4.5 cm. The edges of the petals are not wrinkled, are 6 to 7 cm long, and 1.5 to 2 cm wide. The tips of the petals are slightly recurved apex. The stamens are pink and are shorter than the perianth, and the stigma is a deep rose red that is nearly as long as the petals. It is a spring foliage type, which has a long leafless period from after flowering (July) to before leaf emergence (February of the following year). The leaves are parallel-sided and 1.5 to 2 cm wide. Compared with L. longituba, because of its richer petal color and brighter filaments, ‘Yi Xian Chun Tao’ has a greater ornamental value.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Flower characteristics of (A) the new cultivar Yi Xian Chun Tao and (B) Lycoris longituba.

Citation: HortScience 57, 4; 10.21273/HORTSCI16489-22

Propagation, Cultivation, and Use

For bulbous flowers, it often takes years (3–5 years) from seed to bloom, so they are often propagated through asexual reproduction by cutting bulbs using scoring (Knippels, 2012). To avoid mold after bulb cutting, the dry and warm early summer and fall are good seasons for dividing the bulbs and differentiation of sub-bulbs, when the bulbs are dormant (Cai et al., 2019; Qing et al., 2007). Some fertile species such as L. longituba and ‘Yi Xian Chun Tao’ produce ample seeds. The seeds ripen quickly the following bloom, and then should be planted as soon as possible after harvest. The seeds wait a long time (4–5 years) to bloom.

Lycoris plants like a warm and a little humid environment. The species of spring foliage type prefer continental conditions with cold winters, spring rains, and warm summers; they are generally hardier than fall foliage types. They grow better under scattered light conditions, and sunshine is more suitable between 50% and 70%. Therefore, Lycoris are suitable for planting in deciduous broad-leaf forests (Liu et al., 2012). In general, they are tolerant of poor soil, drought, waterlogging, and pests and diseases (Salachna and Piechocki, 2019; Xu et al., 2015), but they grow better in loam or sandy loam rich in organic matter. They grow well in the open field in warm regions, and summer warmth and moisture make them bloom well. Because of the limitation in the number of bulbs, ‘Yi Xian Chun Tao’ has not been widely used in landscaping yet. Although it has not been widely grown, its beautiful flower and simple cultivation make it a promising bulb, flowering under the forest in the summer.

Availability

‘Yi Xian Chun Tao’ is available through Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Botanical Garden Mem. Sun Yat-Sen). Contact F.Z. (e-mail: fengjiao@cnbg.net) for inquiries.

Literature Cited

  • Cahlíková, L., Breiterová, K. & Opletal, L. 2020 Chemistry and biological activity of alkaloids from the genus Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae) Molecules 25 4797 https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204797

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  • Cai, J., Fan, J., Wei, X. & Zhang, L. 2019 A three-dimensional analysis of summer dormancy in the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) HortScience 54 1459 1464 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI14080-19

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deng, C., Zhou, J., Gao, W., Sun, F., Qin, R. & Lu, L. 2006 Assessment of genetic diversity of Lycoris longituba (Amaryllidaceae) detected by RAPDs J. Genet. 85 205 207 https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jgen/085/03/0205-0207

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hsu, P.S., Siro, K., Yu, Z.Z. & Lin, J.Z. 1994 Synopsis of the genus Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae) SIDA Contrib. Bot. 16 2 301 331

  • Ji, Z. & Meerow, A. 2000 Lycoris Flora China 24 266 269

  • Knippels, P.J 2012 Advanced in vivo propagation techniques for specialty bulbs Floric. Ornam. Biotechnol. 6 154 157

  • Knox, G.W 2006 Hurricane lilies, Lycoris species, in Florida University of Florida Extension #EDIS 2006 Gainesville, FL

  • Kurita, S. & Hsu, P. 1996 Hybrid complexes in Lycoris Amaryllidaceae Amer. J. Bot. 83 207

  • Liu, K., Tang, C., Zhou, S., Wang, Y., Zhang, D., Wu, G. & Chang, L. 2012 Comparison of the photosynthetic characteristics of four Lycoris species with leaf appearing in autumn under field conditions Photosynthetica 50 570 576 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11099-012-0067-x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Qing, L., Juying, X. & Xiangnan, L. 2007 Cultivation and propagation of Lycoris J. Anhui Agr. Sci. 35 10678

  • Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association 2018 Koninklijke Algemeene Vereeniging voor Bloembollencultuur (KAVB) Hillegom, The Netherlands. 28 Feb. 2019. <https://www.kavb.nl/english/organisation>

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salachna, P. & Piechocki, R. 2019 Comparison of nutrient content in bulbs of Japanese red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) and golden spider lily (Lycoris aurea), ornamental and medicinal plants World News Natural Sci. 26 72 79

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tsi, Z.H. & Meerow, A.W. 2000 Amaryllidaceae Flora China 24 264

  • Xu, S., Jiang, M., Fu, J., Liang, L., Xia, B. & Wang, R. 2015 Physiological and antioxidant parameters in two Lycoris species as influenced by water deficit stress HortScience 50 1702 1708 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.50.11.1702

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Contributor Notes

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31801900), the Jiangsu Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Fund [CX(20)3171], and the Jiangsu Provincial Crop Germplasm Resource Bank for Conservation (2021-SJ-012).

Z.W. is the corresponding author. E-mail: wangzhong19@163.com.

  • View in gallery

    Flower characteristics of (A) the new cultivar Yi Xian Chun Tao and (B) Lycoris longituba.

  • Cahlíková, L., Breiterová, K. & Opletal, L. 2020 Chemistry and biological activity of alkaloids from the genus Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae) Molecules 25 4797 https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204797

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cai, J., Fan, J., Wei, X. & Zhang, L. 2019 A three-dimensional analysis of summer dormancy in the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) HortScience 54 1459 1464 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI14080-19

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deng, C., Zhou, J., Gao, W., Sun, F., Qin, R. & Lu, L. 2006 Assessment of genetic diversity of Lycoris longituba (Amaryllidaceae) detected by RAPDs J. Genet. 85 205 207 https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jgen/085/03/0205-0207

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hsu, P.S., Siro, K., Yu, Z.Z. & Lin, J.Z. 1994 Synopsis of the genus Lycoris (Amaryllidaceae) SIDA Contrib. Bot. 16 2 301 331

  • Ji, Z. & Meerow, A. 2000 Lycoris Flora China 24 266 269

  • Knippels, P.J 2012 Advanced in vivo propagation techniques for specialty bulbs Floric. Ornam. Biotechnol. 6 154 157

  • Knox, G.W 2006 Hurricane lilies, Lycoris species, in Florida University of Florida Extension #EDIS 2006 Gainesville, FL

  • Kurita, S. & Hsu, P. 1996 Hybrid complexes in Lycoris Amaryllidaceae Amer. J. Bot. 83 207

  • Liu, K., Tang, C., Zhou, S., Wang, Y., Zhang, D., Wu, G. & Chang, L. 2012 Comparison of the photosynthetic characteristics of four Lycoris species with leaf appearing in autumn under field conditions Photosynthetica 50 570 576 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11099-012-0067-x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Qing, L., Juying, X. & Xiangnan, L. 2007 Cultivation and propagation of Lycoris J. Anhui Agr. Sci. 35 10678

  • Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association 2018 Koninklijke Algemeene Vereeniging voor Bloembollencultuur (KAVB) Hillegom, The Netherlands. 28 Feb. 2019. <https://www.kavb.nl/english/organisation>

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salachna, P. & Piechocki, R. 2019 Comparison of nutrient content in bulbs of Japanese red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) and golden spider lily (Lycoris aurea), ornamental and medicinal plants World News Natural Sci. 26 72 79

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tsi, Z.H. & Meerow, A.W. 2000 Amaryllidaceae Flora China 24 264

  • Xu, S., Jiang, M., Fu, J., Liang, L., Xia, B. & Wang, R. 2015 Physiological and antioxidant parameters in two Lycoris species as influenced by water deficit stress HortScience 50 1702 1708 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.50.11.1702

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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