ORNAMENTAL PLANTS OF HORTICULTURE VALUE
Selection of perennials
Desert candle, foxtail lily
|Asphodelaceae, formerly in Liliaceae
Distributed from the Eastern Mediterranean to southern Siberia in
the east, and from the Himalayas to the Caspian Lowlands in the
north. 20 or 40 species, depending on classification, but Russian
taxonomists consider there are 49 species in the FSU, 41 endemic.
Most are completely unknown to horticulture. Many species have been
investigated in various botanical gardens, mainly in Central Asian
botanical gardens. A list is given below. From the horticulture
point of view, it is very important to know the main characteristics
of the species. Most important are: the height (in cm), colour of
the flowers, and blooming period. These features are given below.
All species mentioned occur in Central Asia, except E. altaicus
(Pall.) Steven, which also occurs in the Altay mountains; E.
azerbajdzhanicus Charkev., which occurs in the eastern
E. spectabilis Bieb., which also occurs in
southern regions of the FSU and the northern Caucasus; and E.
tauricus Steven, which occurs in the Crimea. The species
unknown in cultivation are marked as "New".
E. aitchisonii Baker, 120-250, bright pink, April. New.
E. albertii Regel, 90-120, pink-red, March-April. New.
E. altaicus (Pall.) Steven, 90-150, pale yellow, May.
E. ambigens Vved., 60-90, lemon-yellow, April. New.
E. anisopterus (Kar. et Kir.) Regel, 35-70, white, April. New.
E. azerbajdzhanicus Charkev., 100, white, May. New.
E. brachystemon Vved.,60-120, pale pink, April. New.
E. bucharicus Regel, 90-160, white with pink, June-July.
E. candidus Vved., 200, pure white, May-June. New.
E. comosus O. Fedtsch., 60-100, pale brownish, May-June. New.
E. cristatus Vved., 50-80, brown-purple, April-May. New.
E. fuscus (O. Fedtsch.) Vved., 100-170, green-yellow, July. New.
E. hilariae Popov et Vved., 70-100, white, cream, April.
E. hissaricus Vved., 120-180, dark cream, June. New.
E. inderiensis (Steven) Regel, 70-100, brown-pink, May-June. New.
E. kaufmannii Regel, 70-140, white-cream, June. New.
E. kopetdaghensis Popov ex B. Fedtsch., 80, pink, April. New.
E. korshinskyi O. Fedtsch., 100-150, brownish-golden yellow, June. New.
E. lachnostegius Vved., 60, milk-white, June. New.
E. lactiflorus O. Fedtsch., 70-150, milk-white with yellow, June.
E. luteus Baker, 50-80, dark yellow, April. New.
E. nuratavicus A. P. Khokhr., 120, brown, May. New.
E. olgae Regel, 70-150, pink with yellow spot, May-August.
E. parviflorus Regel, 80, white with red stripes, April. New.
E. pubescens Vved., 100-150, pink-violet, May. New.
E. regelii Vved., 100-200, brown purple, April-May.
E. robustus Regel, 250-300, pink-white, April-May.
E. roseolus Vved., 80-130, bright pink, May-June. New.
E. sogdianus (Regel) Franch., 60-120, green-brown, June. New.
E. spectabilis Bieb., 80-200, yellow, May-June.
E. stenophyllus (Boiss. et Buhse) Bak., 80-120, golden yellow, June.
E. subalbiflorus Vved., 70-100, white, April. New.
E. suworowii Regel, 80-150, pale yellow, April. New.
E. tadshikorum Vved., 80=120, brownish-cream, July. New.
E. tauricus Steven, 120-150, white, May. New.
E. tianschanicus Pazij et Vved. ex Golosk., 180, pink, July. New.
E. turkestanicus Regel, 60-120, greenish yellow, May. New.
E. zenaidae Vved., 100, pale pink, May. New.
Most species are of great horticulture potential. They are very
attractive. All have strap-like leaves in a rosette and a columnar
inflorescence, a simple raceme that can reach up to 120-150 (250) cm.
The flowers are sometimes very numerous, thus, for example, the
E. aitchisonii inflorescence can contain 500 flowers, the
E. candidus inflorescence may consist of 260 flowers, the
E. olgae inflorescence (if fasciated) has 600 flowers and
E. robustus can develop 1000 flowers in one inflorescence.
Individual flowers 1.0-2.0 (3.0) cm in diameter.
All species can be propagated by seed sown immediately after
harvest. Some plants require 3 years before they come into flower,
among them E. ambigens. Other species come into flower
after 4 years. Among them are E. albertii, E. altaicus, E.
bucharicus, E. fuscus, E. olgae, E. subalbiflorus and E.
tadshikorum. A certain number of species can be easily
propagated by division: E. hissaricus, E. pubescens,
E. spectabilis, E. suworowii and E. turkestanicus. The
roots, flat-spreading like a star from a small, hard crown
(shortened stem), are fleshy and very brittle during the growing
season. When transplanting and dividing one should be very careful.
The best time for planting is late summer. For vegetative
propagation each division should have roots and a part of the
crown. Root cuttings without a part of the crown (stem) do not
produce new buds. Vegetative propagation permits the production
of flowering plants twice as fast as seed propagation. Almost all
species require full sun and well-drained soil. Among the most
attractive species are E. robustus and E. olgae.
The first one prefers a semi shaded position and rich soil. The
second, E. olgae, can grow on clayey soil and can be easily
propagated. All species cannot grow in soils with excess moisture,
especially in winter. Being representatives of the Central Asian
region, most species are good for a warm dry climate: zones (5),
6, 7, etc. Some species can grow on dry, saline soil. They are
E. inderiensis, E. kopetdaghensis, E. luteus, E. pubescens,
E. roseolus and E. tadshikorum. Several very interesting
ornamental hybrids can be found in nature, especially in the eastern
regions of Tajikistan. Among them are: E. stenophyllus x E.
olgae and E. stenophyllus x E. bucharicus. These plants
have flowers of pink, salmon, orange and pink-lilac colour and a
very large inflorescence.