Now it's July, and the daylilies are blooming. Don't mistake them for the asiatic lilies, the fragrant stargazers of elegant bouquets.
Daylilies are more common plants. They grow everywhere, like grass.
You can see them in planters, or edging formal gardens, but they are just as much at home in alleys, vacant lots and roadsides. Anywhere there is a sunny spot, they will find a place to grow, and bloom. They are sometimes called ditch lilies. In Japan, they are called wasuregusa--the grasses of forgetfullness.
Daylilies are the common name of plants in the genus Hemerocallis. The name comes from the Greek words "hemera", which means day and "kallos", which means beauty.
They are a member of the Liliaceae family, as are true lilies (the asiatics and orientals), onions and hyacinths. They are related, but very different plants.
True lilies are bulbs. Daylilies have thick fibrous roots with tubers attached to the roots. These roots are easily divided, and the new plants spread readily.
All daylilies have long, flat strap-shaped leaf blades that do look like some kind of grass. These leaves grow in clumps from the crown of the plant, at the soil line. Out of these leaves, come the flower stalks. They can grow up to four feet high.
Daylilies hybridize easily. The American Hemerocallis Society claims there are over 30,000 named varieties, in many colors and combinations of colors. Well, there is no true black daylily-- but there are some really dark red or purple ones that are very close!
Perhaps the most famous of these named varieties is "Stella de Oro"--Yes, it gets a gold star for its yellow flowers, and vigorous re-blooming ability.
But it is the common orange ones we see in the alleys and ditches--the ones that really have no name, or maybe it's been forgotten. Bright orange daylilies against a blue sky----these are the flowers of summer days.
Each daylily flower blooms for only one day. One day's beauty, but don't be sad. There are many buds on those flower stalks, day after day of summer beauty.
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