Lilies forum→Stigma colour on species (particularly L. leucanthum)

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Name: Luka
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Lucius93
Jun 15, 2020 8:21 AM CST
@Leftwood
Ok. Species question for you about stigma color (and pollen color). Do you know the color of stigma in lilium leucanthum? We couldn't find official description anywhere.

Also i would like to clarify one thing in general about species; Regardless of the variation within a species, should the stigma (and pollen) always be the same color? Can the color of pollen and stigma be a crucial factor in recognizing the type of lily?
Example. Lilium regale. We know that we have different variations of lilium regale on the market today (with a darker or lighter bud color), but they all have one thing in common: they have orange pollen and a green stigma. So, if someone showed us a lilium regale with a black stigma we would tell him with certainty that it is not lilium regale even though flower colors are the same.
Right now we have problem with leucanthum in lily database because some leucanthum pictures have green and some have black stigma and in my opinion both colors can't be true. That's why i asked you that first question.
Name: SteveW
Bellingham area, WA (Zone 8b)
Busy building a lily collection...
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Steve2020
Jun 15, 2020 10:56 AM CST
Hi Lucius, leuchanthum with green stigma would be consistent with photos in "Lilies: A Guide for Growers and Collectors" by Ed McRae (1998). But looking at the B&D Lilies "Wild Lilies Photo Gallery" (https://www.bdlilies.com/ls255...) their photos of Lilium leucanthum var. centifolium and leucanthum var. chloraster in the wild both appear to show dark stigma. The B&D website mentions, for var. chloraster: " Jan de Graff of Oregon Bulb Farms first obtained seed from gardens in Gansu, China in the early 1950's where it became a major element in trumpet breeding". In his book "The Lilies of China", Haw (1986) also mentions the collection of L. leucanthum from Gansu in 1894, and also that "... the stocks of var. centifolium later grown in Britain probably all derived from Farrer's collection made in 1914 from a cottage garden near Siku, southern Gansu." So it is always possible that there is some variance in what people truly believe to be leucanthum. I do not know whether there have been multiple introductions of seed from the wild for this lily in the West (especially considering the difficulty of accessing the interior of China in the 60s and 70s); it could well be that the genetic source pool of many of the bulbs and seeds being offered by various sources actually come from these fairly restricted early collections. I don't know if I would call the ambiguity of the stigma color a 'problem', rather it being part of the charm of growing the species lilies from far-away places.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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pardalinum
Jun 15, 2020 11:24 AM CST

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I use Flora of China as my go-to for small details and stigma color is not mentioned for regale or leucanthum. Plenty of other small details but you would need the plants in hand to compare.

Judith's website shows both regale and leucanthum having green stigmas. I think stigma color can also vary depending on the condition of the stigma when the photo was taken but I don't know if that is so for regale and leucanthum.
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
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Lucius93
Jun 15, 2020 12:13 PM CST
Stigma color can vary if there is pollen on them or after few days of flowering. Freshly open flowers have consistent/same stigma color in species or hybrids. At least this is my experiance with this topic. Flower/bud color can vary from lily to lily (this is especially true for trumpets and their strains) but stigma color is the same. Again, this might or might not be true. Just my observation.
Anyone have Pontus book: Lily species and their bulbs? You should find species pictures inside that book.

Edit: Also i want to explain why i specifically asked Rick about this topic; He raised many species lilies from seeds and he probably have a lot of pictures which can confirm or destroy this theory. That doesn't mean others can't help if they know something and have some proofs.
[Last edited by Lucius93 - Jun 15, 2020 12:18 PM (+)]
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Name: SteveW
Bellingham area, WA (Zone 8b)
Busy building a lily collection...
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Steve2020
Jun 15, 2020 12:25 PM CST
Yes, I have Pontus' book and there he shows leucanthum as having a dark stigma. So, there is evidently some differences in stigma color from images from reputable expert sources...

But here's an update, as the picture of L. leucanthum in Pontus' book is actually that of Lilium leucanthum var. chloraster from the B&D Lilies "Wild Lilies Photo Gallery". So of the five principal white Chinese trumpet types I believe the following is true (as far as I can tell, and in flowering progression order): regale - green stigma; sargentiae - dark; brownii - green; leucanthum (type) - green; sulphureum - green. However, leucanthum var. chloraster and var. centifolium would both appear to have dark stigma.
[Last edited by Steve2020 - Jun 15, 2020 1:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
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Lucius93
Jun 15, 2020 12:44 PM CST
Interesting. All leucanthums with dark stigma? In this case we are looking at leucanthum var. centifolium.
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Jun 15, 2020 9:15 PM CST
Thanks, everyone for chiming in. I think we all know that no one person has all the answers. Smiling
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
I used to be like you, Lucius. I wanted everything cut and dry, perfectly defined. Surely, if I dug deep enough, I would find the answer, and everything would be clear. Unfortunately, in botany that's usually not the case.

Even with something as "simple" as the definition of the species rank in taxonomy, the experts don't completely agree. The basic problem is that we, through our human invention of plant classification (taxonomy), try to categorize the natural world with human intellect. Nature is not a human construct, so we can only get it right as far as we understand it. From the first recorded categorizing of lilies in China as red or white lilies, to present day, our knowledge becomes more intricate, and our understanding more in depth. Taxonomies constantly change in due respect. The Flora of China project was a world collaboration, but upon "completion", it was taken over by Chinese botanists to continue the taxonomy as our knowledge grows. Many world botanists have expressed reservations about this transition. Alas it is a human problem, not a problem with nature.

It was not long ago that we had varieties of lily species based on their flower color, or tepals with or without spots. Now through DNA/RNA testing, most of these have proven not to be genetically different enough to warrant such ranking. So such rankings as L. canadensis var. rubrum, var. editorium, var. immaculatum, L. concolor var. coridion, L. formosanum var. pricei – these have been absorbed back into the type species. Even the taxonomy that this site uses (Catalogue of Life) is not necessarily the best or correct. Just as in the ancient times of human origin and all throughout history - stories, legends, and truths of the day were humanly manufactured to make sense of the natural world. Every society at every time in history had undisputable truths that later were proven false. It would be silly to think we are any different, even now. But we do our best with our "truths of the day": in this case, taxonomy.

Philosophy aside and to your point, Lucius, is pollen or stigma color alone a deciding factor of Lilium species? No. At least not in my opinion, and I have not found any evidence suggesting that color is such a steadfast characteristic that a massive genetic change would be needed (thus warranting a species designation). Sometimes, it is just the convenient way of identification, that could be right or wrong. Obviously, a species is a combination of a multitude of characteristics. Some characteristics may be 99% true across the species spectrum, others only 50% or less. That we use pollen or stigma color as a helpful determination, is useful, but only in collaboration with other characteristics.

I really don't see this as any different than color phases in animals or insects. The Flora of China only list the tepal reverse coloring as differentiating var. leucanthum from var. centifolium. (It does not recognize var. chloraster.) Nothing is said about stigma color, and the B & D photos https://www.bdlilies.com/ls255... clearly show a dark stigma and a green (not brown) reverse tepal color. So a dark stigma is not tied to var. centifolium. And no, I would not say the photos dictate that var. chloraster has a dark stigma.

I don't have any flowering size leucanthum right now, but this is one that I grew, labeled as just L. leucanthum.

Thumb of 2020-06-16/Leftwood/773c59

And this is a friend of mine's, also here in Minnesota.

Thumb of 2020-06-16/Leftwood/da2284

Regarding Pontus's book, I like it very much, but he never claimed it to be all encompassing. Rather, he states clearly that his writing is biased toward his own experiences in his climate. Read with this in mind, his experience is very valuable.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
Köppen Climate Zone Csa
Lilies Bulbs Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Sempervivums
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Garden Photography Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer Region: Europe
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Lucius93
Jun 16, 2020 12:54 AM CST
Thanks, Rick. As always a detailed explanation. I tip my hat to you.

Where would you put these three pictures? They are currently in the lilium leucanthum database. Do you think these are leucanthums or some hybrids?


Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Jun 16, 2020 8:08 AM CST
It is unfortunate that known to be true species are hard to find (other than seed) in commerce, let alone their true and complete descriptions in available literature. We need to consider the entire plant, not just the flowers or parts of the flower. The repertoire of facts and data I (and we) have can't be conclusive, and a single photo is hardly a complete picture of the plant. In my opinion, this data base is a amalgamation put together with the best of intentions (as all data bases are), but the accuracy can only be as good as the contributors and administrators, and the time available to oversee its content. Every data base has errors, no doubt. Over time, I have learned that there can be a wide spectrum in data bases' of overall purpose, and we need to take that into account.

Many years ago, people (in general) were different, societies taught us to evaluate our emotions before outward expression, and put more value on facts. I fixed many data base inaccuracies simply by contacting the contributor, and asking questions and/or explaining why their contribution was not right, often backing it up with sourced information. Usually they retracted their photos on their own. But for a long time now, I find such interactions distasteful, as they seem to automatically be taken as a personal attack, rather than an attempt at data base accuracy. To retain my own sanity, I don't do it anymore. So tread lightly if you choose this route.

So, of the three pics you show, I would only feel confident in saying the last one (duane456) is a hybrid, but not because of the dark stigma. Color is clearly showing on the front surface of the tepals (and at the margins rather than the midrib, and not bleeding through from the back side), a trait I've not seen on any L. leucanthums or in photos or in literature, ever. Additionally, leucanthum rarely has a perfect raceme inflorescence configuration; the norm is always somewhat of a whorl of flowers at the base before the spike continues upward.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
[Last edited by Leftwood - Jun 16, 2020 8:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
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Lucius93
Jun 17, 2020 5:34 AM CST
Ok.
@Australis Move that duane456 photo in general lily database. We are done with that finally.
Name: Michelle
Cheyenne, WY (Zone 5a)
Salvias
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MrsBinWY
Aug 18, 2020 9:51 AM CST
Lucius93 said:Thanks, Rick. As always a detailed explanation. I tip my hat to you.

Where would you put these three pictures? They are currently in the lilium leucanthum database. Do you think these are leucanthums or some hybrids?




Leftwood said:...
So, of the three pics you show, I would only feel confident in saying the last one (duane456) is a hybrid, but not because of the dark stigma. Color is clearly showing on the front surface of the tepals (and at the margins rather than the midrib, and not bleeding through from the back side), a trait I've not seen on any L. leucanthums or in photos or in literature, ever. Additionally, leucanthum rarely has a perfect raceme inflorescence configuration; the norm is always somewhat of a whorl of flowers at the base before the spike continues upward.


Lucius93 said:Ok.
@Australis Move that duane456 photo in general lily database. We are done with that finally.


I'm two months late to the discussion. Unfortunately, I bring zero taxonomic expertise, just some history about the lilies in the photo I posted.

I originally ordered the seeds, labeled "Chinese Trumpet Lily Mix," from Diane's Seeds on June 16, 2012. I've thought of these as L. regale, probably based on Van Engelen's listing: https://www.vanengelen.com/flo... (Perhaps @DianeSeeds recalls the source of her lilies.) When I posted the photo earlier this year, I placed it under L. regale. Possibly Diane's photo was under L. regale then, too. Now I'm wondering if I should just have placed it in the general "Lilies" category, with a caption like "Chinese Trumpet Lily."

The photo has migrated a few times over the last few months, from L. regale to L. leucanthum var. centifolium Black Dragon Group to L. leucanthum and now to L. leucanthum var. centifolium.

Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/f8f8da
Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/251c49
Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/585f6e

The 2013 seed sowing resulted in a few color variations. A seedling the cat pilfered and deposited in the cold air return duct work (discovered and rescued several weeks later) eventually bloomed golden-yellow. Another seedling shows much less coloration on the reverse (though, if I understand correctly, this may be due to weather conditions or an individual plant's maturity).
Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/d597be Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/4425f3

So, as I noted above, I believe it was irresponsible for me to label the photo as L. regale just based on purchasing "Chinese Trumpet Lily Mix" seeds. My germination notes are in the database under L. regale, but I'll move then to whatever heading the experts decide is appropriate. So sorry to add to the confusion!
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
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Lucius93
Aug 18, 2020 10:20 AM CST
Hello Michelle.
No need to be sorry. There is lack of photo on the internet of lilium leucanthum and it's subspecies and cultivars. That's why we had confusion. I spent some time researching about Black Dragon and lilium leucanthum var. centifolium. After consulting with one person and comparing his photos, i decided yesterday to propose move of your pictures in leucanthum centifolium database. Lilium Black Dragon is strain derived from l. leucanthum var. centifolium. They are very similar. Since it's a strain, color can vary from light to dark but generally speaking Black Dragon Group should have darker/purplish bud color. Just like your lily in that photo.
I originally ordered the seeds, labeled "Chinese Trumpet Lily Mix," from Diane's Seeds on June 16, 2012.
This is then proof that I did the right thing. Smiling
Lilium leucanthum doesn't have dark reverse like that. It's characteristic to var. centifolium.
That white one is really nice. Could be lilium leucanthum var. leucanthum but i hope someone can check. Not sure.
Can you remember the bud color of that centifolium in his early stage?
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
Köppen Climate Zone Csa
Lilies Bulbs Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Sempervivums
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Lucius93
Aug 18, 2020 10:28 AM CST
MrsBinWY said:
Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/d597be Thumb of 2020-08-18/MrsBinWY/4425f3

One more question. Does this one have bulbils on leaf axils? Small brown bulbils? If it has then this is lilium sulphureum. If not it's probably leucanthum var. leucanthum but not sure about that. 100% not regale.
Name: Michelle
Cheyenne, WY (Zone 5a)
Salvias
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MrsBinWY
Aug 18, 2020 2:39 PM CST
Many thanks Lucius. My memory regarding early bud colors would be unreliable, so I'll check to see if I took any pictures.

To date, I've not observed bulbils on the white one; so perhaps that removes L. sulphureum from the list of possibilities.

Regarding your comment that it's "100% not regale," my curiosity is piqued. As someone nearly completely unschooled in botany, I find myself oblivious and ignorant of the defining characteristic(s) that enable one to discern between the two. Maybe the leaf shape is off? Too short and too wide? Confused

I thank you very much for your time and patience!
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
Köppen Climate Zone Csa
Lilies Bulbs Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Sempervivums
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Lucius93
Aug 18, 2020 3:08 PM CST
Everything is off. Big Grin
Regale have yellow/white color inside and pinkish/white color outside, smaller silvery green leaves and orange pollen with green stigma. Just check lilium regale in the database here and you'll clearly see. Smiling
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Aug 18, 2020 3:32 PM CST
Lucius93 said:Lilium leucanthum doesn't have dark reverse like that. It's characteristic to var. centifolium.


Not entirely correct.
The taxon Lilium leucanthum encompasses all variations of the species (and thus all varieties).
I believe what you mean is
"Lilium leucanthum var. leucanthum doesn't have dark reverse like that."

Michelle, you are smart to realize your limitations. It is definitely true that your photos are not L. regale. I don't have an opinion on whether the first is Black Dragon or not. However, L. regale need not have any pink hues (although it usually does), and the leaves are not smaller (rather, much narrower and in fact usually longer). L. leucanthum (and L. sulphureum and L. sargentiae) leaves are green compared to the silver-green of L. regale. The bulbils, if they ever grow, become quite large and would be impossible to miss.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
Name: Michelle
Cheyenne, WY (Zone 5a)
Salvias
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MrsBinWY
Aug 18, 2020 9:28 PM CST
Thank you Lucius and Rick for the additional clarification!

No luck on finding a picture of a developing bud of the Lilium leucanthum var. centifolium, but here's a distant shot that shows different bud colors on the golden-yellow seedling (top center of the photo) as well as a picture of an open bloom.

Thumb of 2020-08-19/MrsBinWY/62e689 Thumb of 2020-08-19/MrsBinWY/5e38ed

It doesn't go precisely with the original question regarding stigma color (which was already discussed as not necessarily a deciding factor), but here's a side-by-side photo of the whiter/possibly var. leucanthum and the var. centifolium that seems to show differing pollen colors:
Thumb of 2020-08-19/MrsBinWY/4b6e52
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
Köppen Climate Zone Csa
Lilies Bulbs Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Sempervivums
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Garden Photography Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer Region: Europe
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Lucius93
Aug 19, 2020 3:53 AM CST
@Leftwood Oh, then I had the wrong mindset. Because i know leucanthum have darker reverse but i thought not so dark. Also l. leucanthum is a lot smaller then centifolium and less hardy and vigorous.
And lastly there is big possibility that var. centifolium is hybrid of some kind because that plant is almost non existent in nature. You can mostly found it on farmers cottage gardens in China. But time will tell.
@MrsBinWY I asked you about bud color because it's the only way to be sure if you have Black Dragon strain or not. Bud color and upper stem of Black Dragon strain is very maroon/brownish. Like this:
Thumb of 2020-08-19/Lucius93/c26193
Leucanthum is really an interesting species. So much confusion and diversity like no other lily.

Name: Michelle
Cheyenne, WY (Zone 5a)
Salvias
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MrsBinWY
Aug 19, 2020 10:14 AM CST
Ah, I understand better now. Thank you. Comparing your photo to my earlier photo suggests my lily probably isn't of the 'Black Dragon' strain. (Although the buds in my photo are maroonish [but not really brownish], the pedicels and stem appear to be quite green.) Also, the buds in your photo are more pendant and slightly(?) blunter(?), though perhaps that's associated instead with the developmental stage.

Lucius93 said:...
@MrsBinWY I asked you about bud color because it's the only way to be sure if you have Black Dragon strain or not. Bud color and upper stem of Black Dragon strain is very maroon/brownish. Like this:
Thumb of 2020-08-19/Lucius93/c26193




This has been an unexpected and yet most welcome education for me. My thanks to all I tip my hat to you.
Name: Luka
Croatia (Zone 9a)
Köppen Climate Zone Csa
Lilies Bulbs Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Sempervivums
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Garden Photography Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer Region: Europe
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Lucius93
Aug 19, 2020 10:27 AM CST
Yes, they are pendant during early stage. They erect slightly later and they become purplish.
Thumb of 2020-08-19/Lucius93/01b823

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