Selected Writings (1915, 1929)
The Orchid Lily
Ivan Michurin
[p 103-104]
I have crossed Lilium Szovitsianum to Lilium Thunbergianum [elegans], the yellow flowers of the first having been pollinated by the pollen collected from the scarlet flowers of the latter. The several hundred hybrid specimens both of the first and of the second generation derived from this cross were plants that could hardly be distinguished from Lilium Szovitsianum. They had leaves of the same shape as those of L. Szovitsianum, the arrangement of the leaves on the stem was the same, and the flowers were the same—yellow and somewhat drooping, the only differences observable in but a few second-generation individuals being a somewhat darker colour of the anthers and the almost doubled height of the specimens as compared to L. Szovitsianum plants.

The third hybrid generation obtained by selfing on the whole was like the first two generations with the exception of a few individuals that showed various deviations. The most notable among these was a specimen that had a unique and a quite new flower colour. Its flowers had a glossy, bright purple colour that later gradually changed to a light-brown tint. The anthers and the pollen were black, which is absolutely unusual in the Liliaceae family; the fragrance of the flowers resembled very much that of orchids; for this reason I have given this new variety the name of Fialkovaya Lilia [Orchid Lily]. Besides, it was found on replanting the bulb of this lily that there was an umbellate compact collar encircling the stem at the level of the upper border line of the bulb segments formed by accrete adventitious stem-roots. This collar offered a splendid protection for the bulb against rainwater and extraneous bodies getting inside. This umbrella being closely contiguous to the upper ends of the external surface of the bulb scales is of especial value as a protective screen preventing the penetration into the bulb of insect pests that usually creep down the stalk and thus get into the bulb where they deposit their eggs. The larvae of these insects in most cases cause great damage to the bulbs resulting in their rotting and subsequent rapid death.

It is relevant to mention in this connection that many other lily species also possess adventitous roots in the lower part of the stem. These roots, however, usually do not form a regular collar encircling the stem, but are haphazardly placed at several different levels and covering the bulb. In the above instance a simultaneous appearance of four new characters was thus observed in the new Fialkovaya Lilia variety, namely, the purple colour of the flowers, black anthers, the fragrance of orchids and the umbellate collar formed by adventitious roots. It is a noteworthy fact in this connection that neither one of the parent plants nor any of their nearest known ancestors possessed any of those characters, and I consider the asumption of existence in these ancestors of some latent tendency to produce such characters as hardly plausible in this case. (1915)

[p 202]

*Should be Roemer & Schultes

I shall cite an example of an interspecific hybrid between the yellow lily (Lilium Szovitsianum Hort.) and the red (Lilium Thunbergianum Roezl.* & Schult.). The hybrid which I named the Fialkovaya Lilia [Orchid Lily] because of its beautiful scent during the first two years of blossoming failed to produce seed balls; on the third and fourth years seed balls appeared, but with empty seeds which of course failed to germinate. Only in the seventh year did the plants begin to produce seeds that would partly germinate. [Ed. note: I take it that the delayed fertility occurred in the F1 hybrid.] (1929)

Lilium Szovitsianum   Lilium Thunbergianum