Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September surprise

So I'm mowing the lawn the other day and I see this stalk sticking out of the ground under a Dogwood tree. I decided to spare it and see what happened. Imagine my surprise when, yesterday, I saw the stalk with a smudge of red hovering over it. Further investigation revealed this unusual flower perched on top. Really like nothing that I'd ever seen.

L (wife) deemed it to be some sort of Lily. I tasked her and C (daughter) with identifying it while I was at work in the afternoon. Upon checking my email I found a couple of links with the requested information.

Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata) or Higanbana blooms in late September. Further research reveals that the name Japanese name Higanbana (higan + hana=flower) refers to the Buddhist term higan which is a period of about a week around the Spring and Autumn equinox.

The plant grows to a height of 24-38 inches and prefers full PM sun. The plant is sterile and propagates as the bulbs, which are poisonous, divide. If planting, plant at a depth of 8 inches and space 6-12 inches. USDA hardiness zones are 7-8 with mulch and 9-10 without mulch.

We've lived several years in this location and I don't ever remember seeing this plant. L's theory, and a good one I might add, is that past summers have been wetter than this one. As a result I was out sitting on the mower and probably hacking this plant to the ground over and over again during the course of the summer. Due to the dryness mowing has been rather limited and probably preserved this lily for our September surprise.