Rain lilies (Habranthus, Zephyranthes etc)

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Alisdair

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Rain lilies (Habranthus, Zephyranthes etc)
« on: August 21, 2011, 03:33:39 PM »
Habranthus is a useful genus for mediterranean-climate gardens, coming mainly from Central or South America, with one or two species in the southern part of the USA. They are amaryllids, not unlike crocus-sized miniature Hippeastrums, mostly coming into flower when the rains start, after a dry or droughty period in which they are dormant. They set seed  very soon after flowering (most seem to be self-fertile), and reach flowering size in just a year or two if you grow them from seed. Indeed, the most commonly available species, H. tubispathus (syn. H. andersonii), can seed itself around rather too freely!
The most commonly available species tend to have pink or copper-coloured flowers. One I have has pale blue flowers. When it was first collected in the wild, in South America in the early 1990s, it was thought to be a new species, and as far as I can discover it has not yet been described (Oron or Hans may know better!). It is a pretty little thing. Seed may sometimes be available from the MGS seed distribution. Here is a photo of this blue Habranthus, taken this morning:
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 12:05:54 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Rain lilies (Habranthus, Zephyranthes etc)
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 10:56:51 PM »
Alisdair's Habranthus reminded me of this bulb that I was given by Harry Hay, a new species of Zephyranthes but only as sp. nova. The only other information was that it came from Alberto Costello. I couldn't discern any scent. It seems to be pure white and the flower is about 50mm long. It flowers in October after a dry rest.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 07:07:49 AM »
Does it come true from seed, John?
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 09:32:42 AM »
Can't say as it hasn't seeded but it has divided a bit.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

Daisy

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 12:46:19 PM »
For the past few weeks, this pot of flowers has been flowering in my neighbouring village.
Every time I have had to go into the village, I have walked past it on my way to the post office, and every time I have cursed myself for forgetting my camera.
This morning I finally remembered my camera, just in time to catch the very last bloom!



I have never seen Habranthus before, but I am guessing, that this is one?
If it is, does anybody know which one?
If it is not, Alisdair had better put this post where it belongs! ;D ;D ;D
Daisy :)

« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:00:42 PM by Alisdair »
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

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John

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 08:50:52 PM »
I assume this is Habranthus robustus which even did well in London for quite a number of years. I even received it instead of a choice bulb I requested from China a few years ago!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:01:28 PM by Alisdair »
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 08:10:00 AM »
John, I think I had the same bulbs as you, from China, as I think they came in the same package that we shared! But I always thought they were Zephyranthes rosea (and so did Brian Mathew). It never occurred to me that they might be Habranthus robustus, so I never did a detailed check. One can generally tell between Habranthus and Zephyranthes, which are so much alike in appearance and behaviour, by two pointers:
In Zephyranthes, the flowers are upright, in Habranthus at a slight angle to the stem
In Zephyranthes, the stamens are of equal length; in Habranthus they are unequal.
Unfortunately their flowers are over now, so I can't check, but in this picture of the bulbs in question the stamens do look pretty equal - it's difficult to tell from the picture of Daisy's plants but the ovaries of the faded flowers do look vertical, if that means anything. Perhaps you could do some stamen measurements, Daisy!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:01:59 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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oron peri

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 12:05:51 PM »

I have never seen Habranthus before, but I am guessing, that this is one?
If it is, does anybody know which one?
If it is not, Alisdair had better put this post where it belongs! ;D ;D ;D
Daisy :)


Daisy, your plant is not Habranthus but Zephyranthes, probably Z. minuta [ syn Z. grandiflora].
There is a bit of confusion between these pink Zephyranthes as there are many cultivars  and probably hybrids in commerce.
Habaranthus robustus is a much taller and more elegant species.
Attached  photos from my garden where you can notice quite easily the differences.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:02:30 PM by Alisdair »
Garden Designer, Bulb man, Botanical tours guide.
Living and gardening in Tivon, Lower Galilee region, North Israel.
Min temp 5c Max 42c, around 450mm rain.

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John

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2011, 02:45:26 PM »
Hi, yes, sorry I jumped in too quickly didn't I. Zephyranthes. Perhaps I should have kept out of this one!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:03:16 PM by Alisdair »
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2011, 02:56:58 PM »
Thanks for those really useful comparative pictures, Oron.
When we came with the MGS trip to Israel this spring, the bus passed within a mile or two of your house - I so wish you'd let us see your garden, obviously packed tight with treasures, but of course that explains why we couldn't come, a herd of forty pairs of clumsy galumphing feet would have caused chaos among all those countless pots of rarities!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 03:03:44 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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oron peri

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2011, 04:36:32 PM »
I so wish you'd let us see your garden, obviously packed tight with treasures, but of course that explains why we couldn't come, a herd of forty pairs of clumsy galumphing feet would have caused chaos among all those countless pots of rarities!

Alisdair,
Its not a garden any more, its a nightmare :-\....at the moment i am repoting about 800 pots, and i should be very carefull as some are rarities that as far as i know i'm the only one to grow, 95% of the collection  is originated to the Mediterranean.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 05:52:50 PM by oron peri »
Garden Designer, Bulb man, Botanical tours guide.
Living and gardening in Tivon, Lower Galilee region, North Israel.
Min temp 5c Max 42c, around 450mm rain.

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Alisdair

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Zephyranthes smallii
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 01:44:47 PM »
Another of these little "rain lilies", so called because of the way that they rush to push up flowers when the rains come after a dry spell. Zephyranthes smallii (syn. Cooperia smallii) is I think the only one in the genus to have such clear yellow flowers. They open around noon, closing in the evening and reopening on following days. They have a fragrance which reminds me of daffodils – though I’m so easily suggestible that that might simply be because of the colour!
It is a distinct species, which some people believe may originally have been a natural hybrid between Z. pulchella and Z. chlorosolen - its chromosome number is between the two. The fragrance is perhaps derived from night-blooming Z. chlorosolen, if that was indeed an ancestor.
It comes from a small area in the extreme south-east of Texas close by the Mexican border, and is rare in the wild (on the Critically Endangered list).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Daisy

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 07:43:42 AM »
I was wrong when I thought that the flowering was over.
When I went into the neighbouring village this morning, more flowers had appeared.






They are growing through a dwarf antirrhinum.

Thank-you for the photos. It makes it easier to identify.
It's great to find bulbs that come up in the heat of the summer, and look so pretty and fresh.
I shall have to buy some of these next year.
Oron, After seeing your pictures of Habranthus, makes me want some of those too.
This is what is so exciting, about moving to a new climate. There are so many, (new to me), plants to try.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

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Alisdair

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 09:07:29 AM »
Lovely pictures again, Daisy, thanks! Hard to tell Zephyranthes rosea and Z. minuta apart from photos, but perhaps as rosea seems to be more widespread that's the more likely; what do you think, Oron?
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

ezeiza

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Re: Zephyranthes
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 05:47:54 PM »
What an interesting and difficult topic. Difficult it is because most Zephyranthes and Habranthi are unknown. And things get worse as wrongly labeled material is further distributed.

How very unfortunate that the more or less well known Zephyranthes grandiflora (Z. robusta, Z. carinata) has been changed to the misleading (but valid) name Z. minuta. This is a species from subtropical Mexico(winter dormant, therefore not Mediterranean) widely grown around the world in mild/hot climates. Sold by the Dutch for many years, seemingly a single freely offsetting clone is grown.
Zephyranthes minuta/grandiflora appears in
reply 3 one photo
reply 5 one photo as Z. rosea
reply 11 three photos

Zephyranthes minuta/grandiflora typically is large flowered, of a rose color. Tepals are six, but flowers with 7 or 8 tepals are not uncommon in the same plant. One can rapidly tell it apart by the stigma that is very long and normally looking "dismayed" (not rigid or erect but rather laying on a lower tepal.
There is one similar species, Zephyranthes macrosiphon, of an intenser shade of the same color but the flower is more regular and somewhat stouter; the stigma is shorter and more stout, never laying down.

Zephyranthes rosea is a tropical species of the Caribbean, where it is widely grown. It has small flowers of a deepest rose, not so star shaped as others but rather the flower is more rotaceous as in Ipheion 'Rolf Fiedler'. It is difficult to maintain except under greenhouse conditions.

Zephyranthes minuta, rosea and mcrosiphon are all dry winter dormant, therefore not Mediterranean.

In Zephyranthes anthers appear in two whorls. Flowers are inserted in the same axis as the scape/pedicel.

In Habranthus in 3 or 4 levels, never at two. Flowers are inserted at an evident angle to the axis

If you find it difficult to tell the species apart is because they are a single species.