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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - November 28, 2010

From: Fayetteville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Comparison of native and non-native bulbs from Fayetteville NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am just a gardener seeking natives. As I could not find Crinum americanum bulbs/plants specifically, I checked further online. Here's an excerpt of what I found from the Louisiana Native Plant Society: Garden Bulbs for the South. Ogden states there are two look-alike Crinums. One is native but rare in cultivation because of its need for wet conditions (Crinum americanum), and a tropical drylander (Crinum erubescens), which is often sold as Crinum americanum ‘Robustum.’ The only difference that readily distinguishes between them is that the native is an aquatic or boggy condition grower, the tropical South American species will not grow in water, but in ordinary garden conditions. This is not the only parallel to species in the Southern United States and in subtropical South America where similar climatic conditions occur. My conclusions: I do not have the native Crinum americanum of the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic Coast. But what I have is a beautiful plant, well worth the little effort in growing. Thought you might want to know.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on being a gardener seeking natives. In your discussion on the native Crinum americanum (Crinum lily) and the non-native Crinum erubescens, your facts are correct. The Native Plant Police will not be out to ticket you for permitting a non-native into your garden; even the most fervent native plant gardeners are sometimes guilty of allowing a lavender to sneak in or perhaps an old rose. Our main concern is that we not allow non-native invasives to take over and crowd out the native species in the garden.

Images of Crinum erubescens from Google.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Crinum americanum


Crinum americanum


Crinum americanum


Crinum americanum

 

 

 

 

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