Journal of the New York Botanical Garden. 30(356): 185-194 (Aug 1929)

1STOUT, A. B. The Fulvous Daylilies — I. Jour.
New York Botanical Garden 30: 129-136. 1929.

In a preceding article1 three groups of cultivated fulvous daylilies, including several clons, were discussed and the question raised as to whether any one of them is duplicated or even closely represented in the wild. The double-flowered clons Kwanso and Flore-Pleno and the variegated forms are, it would seem, of horticultural origin and existence. It is certain that the Linnaean type of Hemerocallis fulva was in cultivation in Europe at least as early as 1576, and as this particular type exists only as a horticultural clon it has been suggested that it be known as H. fulva L. clon Europa or simply as Daylily Europa. What the natural relatives of this clon are like is a matter of special interest from the standpoint of both botany and horticulture, and with this in mind the fulvous daylilies of known wild origin and of close relationship to the Daylily Europa may be surveyed.


Evidently no fulvous daylily other than the clon Europa found its way into Europe until about 1798. Record of such a daylily is found in a catalog of the plants in the Cambridge Botanical Garden, England, published in 1804 by James Donn. The name H. disticha is given, but the only description is the one word "spreading." No statement is made of the origin of the plant, but the date of the introduction is recorded as 1798. Donn also lists the H. fulva of Linnaeus; hence it is certain that his new species H. disticha was different from the Europa Daylily.

No description of the H. disticha appeared until 1823, when a colored plate was published by Sweet (British Flower Garden, pl. 28). The flower is described as light-brown-orange in color, the perianth-tube as 1 1/2 inches long, and the segments as lanceolate, spreading, and about 3 1/2 inches in length. The plant illustrated was obtained from a nursery in England, but it is stated that it was of a type native in China and that plants of this type had been in cultivation in England for some time, although they were seldom known to yield flowers. The description and the colored plate make it clear that this was a fulvous daylily which was new and somewhat distinct from the old H. fulva of Linnaeus.

It is a strange coincidence that David Don in 1825 (Prod. Florae Nepalensis) lists under the name Hemerocallis disticha a daylily which he reports to be growing wild in Nepal. Don had seen a mere reference to the H. disticha of James Donn, but evidently did not know of the description and colored plate published by Sweet. Since Don describes his plant as having yellow flowers it seems certain that he did not have a fulvous daylily.

It may be noted that frequently references to the fulvous daylily H. disticha of Donn and of Sweet are, by omission of the final "n," credited to Don."


In 1867 the Dutch botanist Miquel described certain dried herbarium specimens as a new species, Hemerocallis longituba. He was not certain whether the plants had been collected as wild or as cultivated in Japan or elsewhere. The color of the flowers was supposed to have been pale fulvous. The most characteristic feature of the flowers is the length of the perianth tube, said to be 1 to 1 1/4 inches long. Miquel makes no mention of the H. disticha of Donn and of Sweet, the perianth-tube of which is equally as long.


The next type of daylily that was considered to belong with the species H. fulva was described under the varietal name angustifolia in 1871 by Baker (Jour. Linn. Soc. 11: 359). Baker describes his plants as very small, with scapes scarcely a foot tall, and with leaves only 12 to 18 inches long and only 2 to 4 lines wide. The segments of the flowers are described as narrow and acute; but there is no mention of color.

Baker based the description on dried specimens which he states came from (1) Khasia, India (in the Hooker Herbarium), and (2) Guriev and Karabagh, collected by Fischer. Guriev is near the extreme northwestern side of the Caspian Sea, and Karabagh is further south and in Caucasia.

In a volume on Japanese plants by Matsumura (Nippon Shokubutsumeii. 1884), H. fulva var. angustifolia Baker is listed and the Japanese name Ki-suge is given, but what this plant was like I am not able to determine and it does not appear to he included in any other list of Japanese plants. In a later volume (Index Plantarum Japonicarum 2: 198. 1905), Matsumura makes no mention of this variety in listing the kinds of daylilies known for Japan.

There is no evidence submitted by Baker that the flowers of these specimens had an element of fulvous coloring. For all we know this dwarf form with narrow leaves may be related to one of the types recently described as H. Forrestii, H. nana, or H. plicata. Baker's plants may be disregarded in considering the fulvous daylilies, and especially any type to be included with the H. fulva of Linnaeus or to be considered as closely related to it.


The Russian botanist Maximowicz described in 1885 (Gartenflora 34: 98, pl. 1187) and illustrated with a colored plate certain daylilies of a type obtained from the wild in the Hakone Mts. of Japan and said also to be in cultivation in Japan. The flowers are described as orange-yellow with slight fulvous tinges and as having the perianth-tube long and narrow. This type is described as different from the H. fulva of Linnaeus (the clon Europa) in having narrower leaves, and flowers with less fulvous color and a longer perianth-tube. The description by Maximowicz is followed by a note by E. Regel, Director of the Botanical Garden in St. Petersburg, stating that in good garden soil these wild plants differ from the old form of H. fulva chiefly in having a long perianth-tube.


Of all plants thus far obtained from the wild in the Orient, the one giving rise to the clon Maculata is most like the Daylily Europa. The coloring of the flowers is only slightly different; the fulvous shades in the outer half of the opened flower are slightly paler and the arching band across the mid-section of the petals is slightly darker. The flowers are larger than those of Daylily Europa and the petals are of a different shape. The plants are later in the period of blooming, but they are very similar in habit of growth except that the scapes are slightly shorter. A colored plate showing a flower and a capsule of this clon has recently been published in Addisonia (14: pl. 460).

Addisonia (15: pl. 481-488)

FIGURE 5. Flowers of fulvous daylilies: at right, the old familiar H. fulva clon Europa; above, the H. fulva clon Maculata; below and at left of two wild plants from the Orient. There is much variation in the shape of the petals and in the degree and the shade of coloring but the general color pattern is quite the same.

The origin of this Daylily Maculata is well known. Padre Giraldi sent to Florence, Italy, seeds or living plants from wild stock growing near Shen-si, China. Either one plant was grown or one plant was selected as the best among several different plants. This was propagated, and was soon grown at the botanical garden in Florence. Plants of this clon came to the attention of Professor Baroni, who described them as "H. fulva var. maculata" (Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital. II. 4: 306. 1897). Soon thereafter plants of this clon were obtained by C. Sprenger in Naples for distribution to the trade. The New York Botanical Garden has been favored with living plants of this stock by Willy Müller, nephew of C. Sprenger, who was associated with him in nursery work and who still continues this business in Naples. Plants have also been obtained from other nurserymen who have offered the Daylily Maculata for sale. All these plants have been identical in every particular. They are all self-fruitless and they set no seed to pollination among themselves. They can be propagated only by division and they very clearly belong to one clot and for this reason the name Maculata may be used as a clonal name instead of as the botanical designation for a natural variety.

In several respects the Daylily Maculata is a more attractive garden plant than the Daylily Europa. Its flowers are larger, the color-pattern is slightly more bold in its contrasts, and the scapes are somewhat shorter, which brings the flowers slightly nearer to the foliage.


This clon was derived from a seedling plant grown by C. Sprenger in Naples, Italy, from seed collected by Padre Cypriani in Hupeh, China. The first published mention of the clot appears to be in the Gardeners' Chronicle in 1906 (III. 40: 158), where the flower is described as ' reflexed, undulating, bright coppery red, with yellow throat."


This clon has the same source and history as clon Hupehensis. Sprenger evidently selected for propagation two seedlings, grown from the seed obtained from China, or it is possible that he only obtained two seedlings from the seed that came to him from China. This clon has flowers described by Müller (Gard. Chr. III. 40: 159) as "coppery red with a golden centre and a well marked golden line down the middle of the petals. The form is gracefully reflexed."

FIGURE 6. A wild plant from China, showing the short perianth-tube and the broader petals almost as in the Europa Daylily. The color is, however, a fine sprightly red that approaches pink, with a darker eye-zone.


The most reliable information regarding the character of the wild fulvous daylilies which the writer has been able to obtain has been secured by the study of living plants brought from the wild state in the Orient and grown for several years at The New York Botanical Garden. From Dr. A. N. Steward, of Nanking University, there were obtained i different seedlings collected at Kuling, China, and 20 plants from Purple Mountain near Nanking, China. Also t different plants were obtained from several localities near Sapporo in the island of Hokkaido, Japan, through the kindness of Professor Y. Hoshino and Professor T. Susa of the Hokkaido Imperial University.

These plants are all very much alike in general habit of growth. The leaves are light green, medium coarse, strongly distichous, and ascending-curving. The scapes stand at a height of about four feet. Compared with the Daylily Europa, they have foliage that is less robust and scapes that are somewhat shorter. There is, however, the same feature of spreading rhizomes and the capsules are of the same type.

In respect to the precise character of the flowers there is much variation among these plants. For the majority of them the flowers have a long perianth-tube and the segments are long and narrow (see FIGURE 7). All have some shade of red in the coloring of the face of the flower and in most cases there is a darker zone just outside of the throat of the flower. The plants from Japan have the duller and more brownish shades; some of those from Kuling have bright shades of pink and red. The flowers of one plant are coral-red in general color with an arching zone of garnet-red in the midsection of each petal.

Individual plants in any one of these groups from Japan, or from Kuling, or from Purple Mountain in China may be selected which agree closely with the H. disticha of Donn and of Sweet, or with the H. longituba of Miquel. Others are almost identical with the H. fulva clon Cypriani named by Sprenger. For a few of the plants the shape of the flower (see FIGURE 6) is nearly the same as that of the Daylily Europa (the H. fulva of Linnaeus), but no plant is a duplicate of the Daylily Europa or as near to it as the H. fulva clon Maculata.


Various botanical treatments by Japanese botanists and by Europeans who have observed or collected plants in Japan and China make mention of fulvous daylilies. For example, the woodcuts published by Iinuma in 1874 (Somoku-Dzusetsu, 2nd ed. vol. 6) illustrate two types later identified by Makino (Somoku-Dzusetsu 3rd ed. 1910) as Hemerocallis fulva L. var. Kwanso Regel and H. fulva L. var. longituba Maxim. In various lists of species the names H. fulva and H. disticha are given and in a few cases both names are included in one list. In most cases, however, all the single-flowered types of the fulvous daylilies other than the H. aurantiaca, which will be discussed in a later article, are included in the name Hemerocallis fulva, but by some writers they are all called H. disticha and in a few instances the names listed are H. fulva and H. fulva var. longituba.

In none of these descriptions and lists is there a critical discussion of the types and variations that were observed, and adequate descriptions and comparisons of the cultivated and the wild types are not made.

FIGURE 7. A wild plant from China, showing the long perianth-tube, and narrow segments. In comparison with the flower shown in FIGURE 6 there is less of an eye-zone and the colors are paler and more fulvous. This is the type of flower described as H. disticha by Donn and by Sweet, as H. longituba by Miquel, and as H. fulva longituba by Maximowicz. FIGURES 5, 6, and 7 show well, except for portraying the shades of color, the variations in the flowers of plants that are at present included in the species H. fulva.


It is clear that the wild fulvous daylilies of the Orient which are most closely related to the Hemerocallis fulva clon Europa are a variable group of plants. There are wide variations in the shape of the flowers and in the degree and the shade of the fulvous or red colorings, even among plants of the same locality. Such variations have given rise to the several names discussed in this article. Judging from the living plants obtained from the wild, it would seem that the type described as H. disticha by Donn and by Sweet includes fully the H. longituba of Miquel and the H. fulva longituba of Maximowicz. The plant H. fulva L. clon Europa is rather closely approached in respect to the shape of flower and general coloring by some of the wild plants but is not duplicated.

For the wild plants there are two extremes in the shape of the flowers: the one with a short perianth-tube and usually broader segments; the other with a long tube and narrow segments. Possibly a more complete knowledge of the natural distribution of these forms may reveal that there are really two distinct species which are more or less intermingled and hybridized in certain areas. At the present time it will, perhaps, be best to include the variations here discussed, both of the wild and of the cultivated plants, in the one species H. fulva L., of which the clon Europa is the historical type. If a botanical name is to be used to designate the type with a long perianth-tube, the proper combination is H. fulva var. longituba Maxim. With this treatment the name H. disticha of Donn and of Sweet and the name H. longituba of Miquel become synonyms.

The individual seedlings that are brought from the wild and propagated asexually, as several have been, give rise to clons and hence, in several cases at least, the scientific names applied to such clons may now be used merely as horticultural names.

While the exact counterpart of the H. fulva of Linnaeus (the clon Europa) has not yet been discovered among the wild daylilies, plants very closely related to it have been found. Evidently the original seedling which was propagated to give the Daylily Europa was one of this group of fulvous daylilies.

Some of the variations among these daylilies of the species H. fulva are certain to be of value in culture and in the breeding for new horticultural types. Already in the breeding work at The New York Botanical Garden the plants with pink and red colorings in the flowers have been used in selective breeding and seedlings obtained that are of sprightly and pleasing shades of bright red.