En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Hymenocallis caroliniana and Hymenocallis liriosme Differences

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 09, 2013

From: Rosharon, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Hymenocallis caroliniana and Hymenocallis liriosme Differences
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

A couple of years ago a neighbor gave me three huge bulbs of a type unknown to her. They fit the description of a spider lily. In attempts to identify it I found Hymenocallis liriosme and Hymenocallis caroliniana. Their descriptions are very similar. Can you point out the difference(s) between Hymenocallis liriosme and Hymenocallis caroliniana?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on being the recipient of some interesting pass-along bulbs.

Here is a summary of the spiderlily bulb characteristics.

Hymenocallis caroliniana (Carolina spiderlily) 

1.5-2.5 ft tall, fragrant, spider-like blooms up to 7 inches across in clusters up to 6 on a leafless stalk. Blooming March – September. Dormant in the summer.
Leaves pale green, shiny and up to 2 feet long.

Hymenocallis liriosme (spring spiderlily)

1-3 ft tall, fragrant, spider-like blooms up to 7 inches across in clusters of 2-3 blooms on a leafless stalk. Petals form a tube 2-4 inches long. Blooming February to May.
Leaves shiny and up to 30 inches long, 1 inch wide. 

Now the differences: Look at blooming time and the number of flowers in each cluster (on a mature plant) to tell the two species apart.
A posting by J. E. Shields on the Pacificbulbsociety.org forum describes how to tell the two species apart quite well. "Hymenocallis occidentalis (now the accepted name for H. caroliniana) normally blooms in late summer. This may be after the leaves have already died back. It's sister species, Hymenocallis liriosme, blooms in spring  with the first flush of leaves."

The Pacific Bulb Society also have a webpage with many of the Hymenocallis species listed and pictures of the two species. And the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder website has a good description of the two bulbs Hymenocallis lirioseme and H. caroliniana.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina spiderlily
Hymenocallis caroliniana

Carolina spiderlily
Hymenocallis caroliniana

Carolina spiderlily
Hymenocallis caroliniana

Spring spiderlily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Spring spiderlily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Spring spiderlily
Hymenocallis liriosme

More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
August 26, 2004 - This year's strange summer weather has lead to a very unusual event. I have a second bloom on my Bluebonnet garden. I first noticed the blooms last week, and contacted my local nursery to confirm the...
view the full question and answer

Methods of planting state wildflowers on roadsides in California
November 06, 2006 - My garden club is initiating a program to plant state hwy 49 within our county with our state flower, California Poppy. Do you have information on using hydroseeding as a method of planting?
view the full question and answer

Planting time for wildflower seeds in Denton Co., TX
March 11, 2007 - I live in Denton county, Texas and I purchased 2 lbs of native texas wildflower seed from the local agr. extension. Is it too late to plant now and expect flowers from my seed ? Should I plant anyway...
view the full question and answer

Perennial herbs and woody species for North Texas
February 17, 2009 - I have recently moved to North Texas. It would be helpful to know some hardy perennial flowers to plant. Also what types of shrubs and trees that do well in the area. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

New York City Native Perennials for a Long Growing Season
May 31, 2013 - Which native New York City perennials would be best for the longest growing season?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center