story to find out more.
flowers of Lycoris aurea, a cousin of the Lycoris species found
in Korea. Click the image for more information about it.
New Korean Beauty at U.S. National Arboretum
Flores December 6, 2005
A flower species, Lycoris incarnata, previously thought to grow
natively only in China, is also thriving in wild habitats in Korea,
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists report. Often called surprise lilies because they flower
in dramatic and colorful ways, Lycoris plants are of widespread interest
to ornamental horticulturists and hobbyists.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists led by U.S. National
Roh. USNA is administered by ARS, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
In 1998, USNA sponsored a trip to collect germplasm of various
Lycoris species from the subtropical Anduck Valley on Jeju Island off
the coast of South Korea, as well as from Japan and China. Roh worked in
collaboration with Mun Seok Seong of Jeju-do Agricultural Research and
Extension Services and Yong Bong Park of Jeju National University. Some 1,500
species of plants make a home on Jeju Island, one of the few preserved areas of
wild habitat remaining in Korea.
Using molecular markers and chromosome study, the researchers proved
that populations of unidentified Lycoris collected from the valley were,
in fact, L. incarnata. They say its possible this accession was
brought from China to Korea by bulb collectors, but no record of that has yet
The Lycoris germplasm that Roh gathered is being kept in the
Asian Collections maintained by Carole Bordelon in the USNAs
Unit in Washington, D.C., and in the ARS
and Nursery Plants Research Unit greenhouse in Beltsville, Md. Preserving
the germplasm at different locations will make it possible to maintain the
valuable materials permanently and to allow sharing of the germplasm for
additional genetic and breeding studies in the future.
Relatively rare in this country, Lycoris species are especially
valued for their beautiful or unusual features, especially their elaborate
flowering patterns. Resistant to pests, Lycoris bulbs are very durable,
tolerating extremes of both drought and waterlogging, as well as poor soil
about the research in the December 2005 issue of Agricultural Research