Lilies forum: Understanding the term Inflorescence

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Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 12:17 PM CST

Moderator

This has been a rather vague topic in regards to lilies. Just curious on definitions and examples (in your opinion) of good vs. bad inflorescence . What is it exactly? It's a term I don't feel comfortable using because I am not always clear what it means. Can you guys help me out? Dictionary definitions do not help me at all. Haven't seen a lily reading that nailed it either.
Tracey
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Nov 8, 2016 1:29 PM CST
Great question Tracey.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Nov 8, 2016 1:44 PM CST

Moderator

I think the best "definition" would come in the judges handbook for showing lilies. It's 10 bucks from NALS. Might be worth the money. I don't have it or have seen it but it is part of the criteria considered by judges.

I assume Stephanie Sims is the person to contact. Hmmmm, might get one for myself.
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Nov 8, 2016 1:55 PM CST
My understanding of it, and correct me if I'm wrong, but certain divisions, depending on their orientation of blooms, should have a certain shape and flow. A balance to the way they bloom. You don't want 5 on one side and 8 on another. Too many flowers isn't good along with not enough.

There is also a ratio. Can't remember it off my head. But I believe the width of the inflorescense should measure up to 1/3 of the stem height? I might be wrong on that. If i can recall that info I'll edit this.

Don't know if this helps at all Tracey or not.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 2:52 PM CST

Moderator

The whole concept of width of the inflorescence is not clear. Length of petals? Relationship to stem?

$10 if it helps solve my problem = money well spent.
Tracey
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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
Nov 8, 2016 3:51 PM CST
In botany, the term inflorescence means "the flowering part of the plant; a flower cluster; the arrangement of flowers on the flowering axis". This is quoted from Plant Identification Terminology,by James Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris. It would begin somewhere below where the lowest flower stem meets the plant stem. For lilies, I think Pard's right about consulting the judge's handbook, as it is not unusual to have differing viewpoints in horticulture versus botany. But an inflorescence certainly is not just one flower (that would be a perianth), unless there is only one flower on the stem. An inflorescence would encompass all the flowers (and flower buds) on a stem.





Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 4:06 PM CST

Moderator

The information you have given is helpful. Is inflorescence in the eye of the beholder somewhat? Or are there exact characteristics that one looks for in having a good or bad inflorescence?

Tracey
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Nov 8, 2016 4:32 PM CST

Moderator

If you are not showing your lilies, then yes, it is in the eyes of the beholder. Perhaps an experienced artist's opinion would be more nuanced toward balance, size, orientation etc (that is, how it looks).

Personally, I don't like pedicels (the "stem" between bloom and stalk) that bend down (usually limply) in the middle. Many old cultivars are like this but we love them anyway because they ARE old and bred by our favorite hybridizers.

I am reminded of a couple of my first seedlings from Cascade where the blooms were whorled at the bottom of the inflorescence then a stalk arising from that. Very weird. Seems like they couldn't make up their mind so they grew both ways. They bloomed like that for two or three years then I culled them for not being up to snuff. Kind of wish I still had them now as they were really unique.
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Nov 8, 2016 5:48 PM CST
Tracey, you could become a registered lily judge! I honestly don't think I could do that. You know everyone brings what they feel is their best work, some people even took the time to calculate and plan to force some of their stems to line up with a show date, whether NALS or regional, so their stem is open during the show times. How do you really say one is "best of show" etc. But someone has to do it.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 6:07 PM CST

Moderator

Best of Show is different for different people. If we are talking judging tables in Chicago this year, the most beautiful lilies I saw were those of Rimmer deVries. The trio he submitted caught me eye. Though I love 'Awesome', since I have, it didn't jump out at me as something different or unique. I knew exactly what it was when I saw it and marveled at the bud count. Rather while I was looking through the line up, something new and different was what struck my fancy. I'm kinda weird like that. Smiling
Tracey
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Nov 8, 2016 6:19 PM CST
I was meaning more of how do you say one lily is ribbon material while others don't even place. But again i think some of that might be biased as everyone has their preferences. But also Tracey, and everyone else on here I believe, is way more experienced than I am, and have seen a lot more than I have. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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
Nov 8, 2016 6:22 PM CST
Tracey, I think what you are trying to extract here is subjective, but a subjectivity that is agreed upon as a whole, rather than individually. Gracefulness is a human designation, for instance. There certainly are inflorescence structures that are deemed bad. Like this:
Thumb of 2016-11-08/Leftwood/905056

Or this, where there is a cluster of flower stems all in one place:
Thumb of 2016-11-08/Leftwood/49efc1

I think everyone would agree that the odd contour of the lower left pedicel here would be bad:
Thumb of 2016-11-08/Leftwood/7583b5




Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 6:26 PM CST

Moderator

And Lefty, to this we can all agree I bet. Some of these things can be blatantly obvious to an avid lily grower.
Tracey
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Nov 8, 2016 6:36 PM CST

Moderator

Good examples, Lefty.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Nov 8, 2016 8:06 PM CST
I'm all ears! Listening.
Name: Paul
Nullawarre, Victoria,Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia
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vanozzi
Nov 8, 2016 8:35 PM CST
Hi all
an inflorescence is either raceme or umbel. From there you go on to judge that particular arrangement.
Different latitudes, different attitudes
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Nov 8, 2016 8:55 PM CST
Since are talking about inflorescence. If say one has something wrong, like the dip in the example of Leftwoods. Will that return next year? Is it genetically dominant?
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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
Nov 8, 2016 9:34 PM CST
I would be surprised if it did, that one in my third pic. But the first two, yes, they do.

Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
Image
magnolialover
Nov 8, 2016 9:35 PM CST

Moderator

Interesting..
Tracey
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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
Image
Leftwood
Nov 8, 2016 10:23 PM CST
vanozzi said:an inflorescence is either raceme or umbel. From there you go on to judge that particular arrangement.


A good example of differing horticultural versus botanical views.
Both Ll. canadense and michiganense have racemous inflorescences (botanically speaking). But most specimens naturally show only umbeliferous-like structure. In horticulture, the species are considered as producing umbel inflorescences, and are judged accordingly. The ones that do show a racemous structure are always ugly to me, because it always mixes with umbel-like tendencies.

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