The Daylily Flower
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The Flowers

The flower of the daylilies is a topic entire books can be written about. The flowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and markings.

Flower Forms

There are a number of ways to describe the shape or form of a daylily flower, one is looking at the flower from the side and another is looking at it head on.

The four main side view terms are Trumpet, Flaring, Flat and Recurved.

Trumpet shaped flower looks very similar to the Regale or Madonna Lily. The petals do not open and spread, which does not allow for the interior of the flower to be seen well.

Flaring side shape are those with the segments arching out over the throat. This is shorter than the trumpet shape. This form often accompanies a triangular front shape.

Flat is used to describe flowers that open flat and have a very short throat. These only show their true colouring when observed from the front.

Recurved form is where the floral segments roll back so that a lot more of the flower is shown in profile.

When it comes to looking face on to the flower there are a few more varieties of shapes. These are Circular, Triangular, Star-shaped, Spider/Spider Variant, Exotic or Unusual and Informal.

Circular flowers appear round in outline. This is a result of exaggerated overlapping of the petals and sepals.

Triangular flowers occurs when the sepals recurve more than the petals.

Star-shaped flowers are closed at the throat and have long, sometimes pinched petals and narrow sepals that recurve.

Spider/spider variants have floral segments that are much longer in proportion to their width than the normal flower and the segments do not overlap.

Exotic and Unusual Forms is a term used for flowers not having narrow enough segments to be classified as Spiders. The have long segments that twist, curl or pinch.

Informal is used to classify any flower that is untidy in shape and does not meet any other accepted flower shapes.

Floral Segments

This is the next big area when describing the daylily flower. The actual look of the flower may be affected by the addition of extra floral segments or the conversion of the stamens into parts that resemble floral segments.

Polytepal means a plant that has more than the usual amount of petals, sepal and stamens. Usually a polytepal flower will have eight or ten floral segments and a similar number of stamens.

Double Flowers

In a double flower the individual flower has more than the basic arrangement of three petal and three sepals. The number of extra tepals can vary between two to eighteen. There are two types of doubleness in daylilies. The first are those that form extra layer(s) of petals and leave the stamens in their original form. The second type of doubling is where the stamens are converted to look like petals (Petaloids).

The look of the double flower can vary from a flower that looks full and fluffy to one that looks only slightly double. Double flowers work best in warm climates and perform marginally in cooler climates unless they have very hot summers. They can also start the season as singles and then move onto doubles as the season progresses and the weather gets hotter. Some single flowers may produce a double flower from time to time.

Full Double has six petaloids and no intact stamens. It can also have additional petals from two to sex, plus the six petaloids. This form is also known as the cockatoo or peony form.

Semi-double has petaloids but fewer normal stamens. Some flowers may contain an organ that is halfway between a petaloid and a stamen.

Crested or Midrib-double has only three true petals, but each has formed petaloid tissue fused to the midrib. This usually projects outwards to give the appearance of even more petals.

Hose-in-hose is a double form where additional layers of usually six, but maybe more or less than six true petals are formed. Leaving the six stamens intact and unchanged.

Flower Colour

The colour is determined by pigments within the tissues of the flower. The different pigments are found in different layers of the tepals. Orange and yellow are found in the middle layers. These colours are known as carotenoids. Red, pink and purple are produced by anthocyanadins concentrated in the epidermis of the flower. There pigments are water soluble. The flowers may be only a single colour or made up of any combination of various pigments in different combinations.

Self is a flower that has both the petals and sepals the same shade of colour. The throat and filaments may be a different colour.

Blends is where two pigments are distributed evenly across the floral segments.

Polychrome is a flower where several colours may intermingle over the entire flower. These are normally shades of cream, pink, rose, yellow, melon and lavender.

Bicolour is when the petals and sepals are of a different colour. The sepals are usually lighter than the petals. Frans Hall is a well known example of a bi-colour daylily

Reverse Bi-colour is the reverse of Bi-colour. The petals are lighter colour than the sepals.

Bitone is similar to bicolour except that the sepals and petals are different in shade or intensity but are of the same colour. The petals are usually more saturated in colour than the sepals.

Reverse Bitone is the opposite of Bitone in that the sepals are darker than the petals.

Throat Colour

The throat of a daylily can be small or quite large, there for the impact on the over all flower look can vary from cultivar to cultivar. Some throat colours can be dramatic and others can be insignificant depending on the mix of colours on the flower. The colour is usually either shades of yellow, orange, melon or green. Starburst throat is a throat colour where the colour flows out onto the floral segments. The colours range from yellow to chartreuse. It occurs most often in red daylilies.

Flower Markings

Halos is a very faint or lightly visible band of a different or darker colour.

Watermarks is a wide stripe of a very light shade where the colour of the petals and sepals joins the throat.

Eyezone is a different or darker coloured band on both the petals and sepals at the point where the flower segments joins the throat.

Band is a different or darker coloured band on the petals only at the point where the flower segment joins the throat.

Borders and Edges Colours

Many daylilies have a coloured border on the edge of the petals. This border or edge can be the same colour as the eyezone or a totally different colour. Darker borders and lighter centers occur in some diploids that have a dense layer of pigment on the flower edge. The reverse can also take place where the edge is lighter than the center.

Edge Characteristics

The edge of the daylily flower can have a variety of characteristics or looks depending on the variety and its heritage. Some flowers have just a smooth or non-ruffled edge. Others have a varying degrees of ruffling on the outer edge. Braided edges are a very recent development bring bred into the newest cultivars. These braids add more weight to the petals and may cause problems opening for cooler climate growing specimens

The latest hot feature to hit the tetraploids is the gold wire or gold braid.

Golden-wire is little more than a thin hint of gold running through the ruffled edge. Gold braid are wider than the wire edges and can measure up to 6mm.

Picotee edges are a thicker rope of cells usually with a darker pigment than the base tepal colour

Diploid / Tetraploid

Daylilies that have a normal count of 22 chromosomes are known as Diploids. Those that have double the amount of chromosomes or 44 are known as Tetraploids. There is very little way to just look at a daylily and make a determination as to whether a daylily is a diploid or tetraploid. But, generally the tetraploids have flowers that are heavier in substance and pollen grains that are larger, also larger foliage, more vigor, and flowers that are larger with more and brighter colours. Tetraploidy does happen naturally but very rarely, so the tetraploids sold today have been converted by using chemicals.

Many new developments in breeding diploids have created new varieties that are almost a large and colourful as the tetraploids.

Daylily Calendar





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