En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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


Northern spiderlily
Hymenocallis occidentalis var. occidentalis

Northern spiderlily
Hymenocallis occidentalis var. occidentalis

Northern spiderlily
Hymenocallis occidentalis var. occidentalis

Spring spider lily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Spring spider lily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Spring spider lily
Hymenocallis liriosme

More Wildflowers Questions

Will wildflowers still be blooming end of March from Austin
November 20, 2009 - Hi Mr Smarty Pants - A wildflower enthusiast from Rome Italy wants to schedule a special visit to Austin end March early April 2010. Can she be sure wildflowers will still be blooming then?
view the full question and answer

Establishing a wildflower meadow in Madison GA
January 21, 2010 - Can a wildflower meadow be established by seeding in a sunny pasture without removing all existing vegetation, just mowing low and slightly loosening soil with the teeth on a front end loader?
view the full question and answer

Plantings of Castilleja in Texas
April 04, 2012 - I am a graduate student interested in studying different species of paintbrush (Castilleja) in Texas. I understand that the Texas Dept of Transportation has been seeding wildflowers along Texas highwa...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower planting in Northeast Pennsylvania
April 16, 2007 - I live in PA, Northeast, and have high grass that is mostly wet, I was wondering if I could just throw wildflower seeds out into the high grass and if they would grow.
view the full question and answer

Requirements to grow Lupinus albifrons
October 07, 2008 - What is required to grow Lupinus albifrons? Temp., soil mix, alkaline or acid, etc.?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center