Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Oxblood Mystery

The Oxblood Lilies that I grow have been in my family longer than I have. Oxbloods are the perfect pass-a-long and have been passed to every family member that is interested in plants. They have looked the same as long as my memory goes back. Red. Always red. Oxblood Lilies are red. Every one knows that.

I was walking to my back shop one morning and noticed a new crop of Oxbloods had popped up after the big rain. Nothing unusual in that. However I was shocked to see that some of them were pink. Not light red but pink, even light pink. I was wondering if it was because of all the rain, [that would be 14.7" of it] and it just washed all the color out as the plant took in too much water.

You can see some coming up in this picture that are almost white.
If any one has any ideas why then I would like to know. Has any one seen this before? Also does any one think they will come up this way next year? Is this natural hybridization?


Pam/Digging said...

I saw some lighter ones in my garden last year, Bob, and wondered about them. This year I missed the big show because I was out of town, so I don't know if it repeated.

katina said...

hunh. That's interesting. I don't know anything about Oxblood lilies though since I don't grow them.

ConsciousGardener said...

I've not seen this before, they always come up red in my yard...and around Crestview, I'll keep my eyes and ears open.

Elgin_house said...

Hi Bob!
The year before last I had a pink pop up in our shade bed, but never since. Scott Ogden's Garden Bulbs for the South says there is a pink subspecies, Rhodophiala bifida var. spathaceae (and an orange one: R. bifida var. granataflora), but that "the pinks lack the vigor of the reds and seldom offset. They must be reproduced from seed, which is slow growing and doesn't always come true."

So what I'm wondering is, are there two kinds of pink oxbloods? Ones that are genetically permanently pink, and ones that are temporarily pink due to some sort of environmental fluke? Or what exactly is going on here?

Annie in Austin said...

I've only had them a few years, Bob, and my Oxblood lilies are all red, but a few years ago Patty Allen from Houston commented on the Zanthan Gardens blog about finding and reproducing the pink ones
Zanthan Gardens Oxblood post & comments

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kathleen Scott said...

Wow--older than you are!

I love Oxblood lilies. They're beautiful--and survivors. Who would have thought bulbs that grew in Germany could survive our climate?

My guess about color is that there is some change in the soil?

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Oxblood lilies do come in different colors. I had one bunch come up "pink" (really sort of a faded red) and I tried to isolate it to see if I could propagate them. Either they got mixed in with a bunch I gave away or they weren't really that different.

It's not that unusual for flowers to "sport" and produce a different color. The fact that humans like the sports and save and cultivate them is how we've "improved" many plants.

Yours are! I hoped you marked them so that you can divide and multiply them.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

@Kathleen Scott Oxblood lilies are not from Germany. They are from Argentina. They were introduced to Central Texas by P. H. Oberwetter, a plant collector and hybridizer.

Plants Delight Nursery carries a pink form.