Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Surprise Lilies

(Lycoris squamigera)

The surprise lily's foliage emerges from the ground in late winter. The green leaves look a lot like those of the daffodils, only a little larger. Unlike the daffodils and other bulbs currently (or soon) pushing their way up out of the soil, the surprise lily doesn't bloom -- not now, anyway. The foliage will grow until the weather starts getting hot and then it dies back. Then, in late July or early August when the foliage is totally gone, the surprise lily sends up a two to three foot tall stem topped by a pale pink flower.

Surprise lilies are also known as magic lilies or naked ladies. They are native to southern Japan. We have three clusters of these plants growing randomly in the yard. They were here when Jo and I arrive. We've often talked about digging up the bulbs and moving them to better locations, but we've just never gotten around to it.