Daylily Haiku Thursday | Daylily Description Decoder Ring

light moods are yellow
dancing in the bright sunlight
begging for more time.

It's official!  I have had my hands in the dirt in 2011!!!

Yesterday evening, while my five year old played in the driveway and covered it (and himself) with sidewalk chalk, I got my hands dirty outside for the first time this year.  It felt amazing.  I just had time to clean out one 12' border along the driveway, but still...I was gardening.

I noticed that many tags need replacing, and that reminded me I told you I would help decode daylily registration information.  Let's use the above daylily for an example.  Here is its published registration information from the AHS Database:

Anastasia (Salter, 1985)

height 20", bloom 6.5", season M, Evergreen, Tetraploid, Yellow self with lime green throat. (sdlg × Jade Lady)

What in the world does all that mean?!  Let's read it from beginning to end.  First, Anastasia is its registered name. 

In parenthesis, is the person's name who registered this daylily and the year it was officially registered with the governing body who documents these registrations.

The next line tells us how tall the scape is (20") and how big the flower is (6.5").  We also learn that this daylily blooms MIDSEASON, which is indicated by the M in the second line.  This means I should expect this daylily to bloom about mid-July in my climate.  Daylilies can be registered as extra-early, early, mid, early-mid, mid-late, get the point.

In that second line, the description also tells us the foliage habit (which is evergreen) and we also learn how many chromosomes this plant has - which is indicated by the word tetraploid.  A tetraploid daylily has four sets of chromosomes in each cell of the plant, 44 chromosomes altogether.  Ploidy is important to know when breeding daylilies.  

The description tells us what the daylily should look like (yellow self with lime green throat.)  And finally we learn what the parents of this daylily are, which is indicated by the last parenthetical phrase, (seedling X Jade Lady)  This means that the hybridizer took pollen from a seedling and put it on the pistil of H. 'Jade Lady' and made seeds.  One of those seeds grew up to be this flower, which Jeff Salter thought to register.  Incidentally, this is Jeff Salter's very first daylily registration!  He has gone on to register over 400 others and win the AHS' Stout Silver Medal!

The registration information is helpful to establish expectations for the daylilies you purchase.  Knowing how tall it grows helps you place it in the right spot in the garden.  Knowing how big the flower size is helps you coordinate surrounding plantings.  If you have the registered name of any daylily, you can go here to look up the registration information for free!

The important thing to remember about registration information is that all of the data is provided by the person registering the daylily, so the data is only accurate to the extent of that person's documentation.  This flower may grow to 20" tall for them, but may grow 24" tall for me.  I must make adjustments to that number based on my own gardens cultural conditions.  It may grow bigger or smaller or later or earlier than registered.  You should consider your own climate when deciphering and using this registration data as the gospel.  The only way to know it is to grow it where you live!

Good luck with your new knowledge of registration details for daylilies.  Now you are armed and dangerous with just enough knowledge to sound like a obsessive at your next garden club meeting.  (as if you needed another reason...)



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