Daylilies (Hemerocallis ) are one of the most diverse and heavily hybridized perennial flower  in existence. The variation of flower forms, sizes, not to mention color and color variations is satggering in the number of cultivars . With over 50,000 registered day lilies recognized by the American Daylily Society it is hard to imagine what else one could expect to find new or different in a daylily.
The amazing largely overlooked attribute of day lilies  is the other extremely variable characteristics that day lilies exhibit. Bloomtime, Foliage type,  Foliage color, Scape height,  Scape color are just a few of the largely overlooked attributes in Hemerocallis.
    To really explore these attributes one must look to the original species and closely  related cultivars.
The H. citrina species is characterized by lemon yellow flowers, trumpet shape and typically a fragrance. There is a large number of H. citrina  species variants. Because the originally species have been cultivated for so long it is difficult to absolutely figure out which variants are true species types originating from the wild or early hybrids that occurred naturally or through hybridizing. These variations typically include scape height, flower shape and bloom time.
One interesting attribute of the H. citrina types is the foliage. Largerly unknown there is a minor fungus called leaf streak whoch affects most day lilies. While mostly innocuous Leaf Streak can make older leaves brown with yellow streaking in extreme cases such as highly susceptible cultivars or stressful conditions, Leaf Streak can be very unsightly. The H. citrina types all exhibit except able resistance to Leaf Streak. While not immune to Leaf Streak H. citrina  types show only minimal infection and almost never any yellow streaking. Because of this most H. citrina types assays have impeccable clean foliage. Added to the fact that all have a blue-green foliage these day lilies can almost be appreciated by their foliage alone. The new shoots that emerge in the spring exhibit a radiant lush coloration that catches the eye from a distance.

H. citrina H. citrina vespertina, H. citrina thunbergii, and H. altissima all fall into the H. citrina complex.  These day lilies  all are unusually tall for day lilies 48 inches are more and buds coints of over 20 per scape. The classic H. citrina is about 48' in height with a bud count of around 20. The foliage is typically about 24" in height and a blue green. Blooming in mid season (mid July here in Vermont) H. citrina last into August.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) species have been used for cooking for centuries. The Chinese have used all parts of the daylily to eat. The dried spent blossoms are the primary parts used in cooking. In China (Taiwan) there are acres of daylilies grown for cooking. The great diversity of daylily cultivars probably means that there is a large untapped resource of potential daylily cooking attributes to be discovered.

Note though that daylily buds can result in gastric distress in some people. It is possible too that there are daylily varieties that may be easily digestible for everyone.


Golden Needles,” a traditional ingredient in Chinese dishes, such as Hot and Sour Soup and Moo Shu, are actually sun-dried daylilies! Vast fields of daylilies, probably a species, are grown for harvest in Asian countries including China and Thailand. The buds are picked when colored, but unopened, and dried in the sun for about a week. You can harvest your own (use
the milder yellow varieties) and either sun-dry them or use a dehydrator. They may also be found in oriental markets. To use them, soak the dried flowers in hot water about ten minutes. Then pinch off the stem end, and cut in half if large. They add a chewy texture and are rich in carotene.
4 eggs
4 scallions, sliced
20 golden needles
1 small can bamboo shoots
1/2 pound snow pea pods, cut in half the long
1 medium carrot, cut into match-stick (julienne)
Substitutes: water chestnuts, bell peppers or
broccoli, all cut in comparable sized pieces, can
be used in place of any of the vegetables.
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons grated or minced garlic
4 cups cooked rice
2-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Heat the sesame oil in a 10-12 inch non-stick skillet or wok. Add eggs, spread over pan as thinly as possible. When done, but not brown, remove and slice into thin strips. Set aside. Heat canola oil until smoking. Add ginger and stir. After one minute add garlic, the vegetables, scallions and golden needles. Mix and stir-fry rice about three minutes. Lower
heat and cook until vegetables are done but crisp. Add rice, egg and soy sauce to taste, and mix until heated through. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as an entree.
-Kristin Kearney-

CSD Hybrids Developed at Olallie Farm: Vermont zone 4b-5a


     The CSD hybrids are a series of cultivars developed by Chris Darrow at Olallie Farm in So Newfane Vermont. These plants have been selected for      earliness of bloom and variation in color and form.
     Virtually all of these plants were in full bloom by the end of June or beginning of July.





Wild populations of H. citrina growing on cliff faces of Mount Tai, Shandong Province, China.

How cool is this?  daylilies growing where almost nothing else could!

A New Day Dawning: Hemerocallis as a Future Model Organism

This is one of the most exciting pieces of research published! The basic gist of it is that Hemerocallis (daylilies) have an incredible genetic diversity and potentially malleable genetics  that might lend itself to botanical and pharmacological benefits.

“Genetic model organisms have revolutionized science, and today, with the rapid advances in technology, there is significant potential to launch many more plant species towards model status. However, these new model organisms will have to be carefully selected. Here, we argue that Hemerocallis (daylily) satisfies multiple criteria for selection and deserves serious consideration as a subject of intensive biological investigation. Several attributes of the genus are of great biological interest.”

A new day dawning: Hemerocallis (daylily) as a future model organism

  1. M. J. Rodriguez-Enriquez1 and
  2. R. T. Grant-Downton2,*

+ Author Affiliations

H. citrina grows well in the spring and seems quite tolerant of frosts

H. flava Major, a supposed variant of H. flava is an extremely good grow with tight light green foliage. H. flava Major seems to tolerate frost very well.



H. hakuensis, suffers some tip damage in the spring do to frost but recovers and blooms fine.
H. sempervirens is only marginally hardy in this climate does not do well. It has a spreading habit much like H . fulva is no where near as vigorous.


This picture is from a 2011 Korean catalog. The plants look to Hem lilioasphedelus. There is a Campanula blooming along with the Hemerocallis which is when one expect it to bloom. This photo was taken at Image

Takamine-kohgen Plateau in the Gunma prefecture. Which appears to be in Japan?


Defining early bloom times in daylilies
 Many consider Stella D'Oro to be the marker for the beginning of the early daylily season. Here in Vermont Stella D'Oro begins blooming some time during the third week of June. We consider any daylily that begins blooming before Stella D'Oro an extra early bloomer. Daylilies that begin bloom around the same time as Stella D'Oro are considered early bloomers

Early and Extra early blooming daylilies are limited in type and color
Particularly extra early bloomers. The vast majority of daylily cultivars bloom in mid July through mid August here in Vermont. Of the daylilies that bloom around the same time as Stella D'Oro or before, there was little variation in color, form or habit. The colors are mostly yellow and gold shades with a trumpet form.

Uses of early blooming daylilies
Early blooming daylilies and Extra Early bloomers can add a whole new dimension to the garden. Daylilies are excellent for forming a flower backbone or base from which to work around. Use them as you would a bulb; rely on them for consistent   late spring bloom. Extremely hardy plants, they are not eaten by rodents and are very adaptable. The varied hues of yellow in the early daylilies contrast nicely with the blues, purples and whites of Siberian Iris, Campanulas , Tradescantia, and Centaureas which also bloom in June.    



   Eastern Sunburst very early pigmented hybrid        An Early Orange hued daylily                      Early Bird one of the first pigmented daylilies to bloom




Where do the earliest daylily hybrids come from?

The earliest of all daylilies are of course species. H. middendorfii, H. middendorfii and H. lilioasphedelus (flava) are the three species that are commonly found and extremely early. These early blooming species are consistent growers, performers and bloomers. Almost like bulbs these daylilies appear and bloom early in the season. Because of this early blooming, they can tolerate a bit of shade as there is a bit more sun at that time of the year.

The other great attribute is that there are many blue shade perennials blooming in June.

Campanula, Baptisia,  Tradescantia, and Iris are just a few blue hued daylilies blooming early in the season. Additionally the early blooms make a great backbone  for annuals such as Chinese Forget Me not, Allysum and more.

What we are doing at Olallie is vastly increasing the selection of early types. We are growing;
Colors: Yellows from butter to pale lemon yellow, Additionally recognizing the lack of other colors, we are working on reds and a variety of eyezone types.
Forms: Trumpet to star shaped to spidery.
Sizes: From 4" pony size to giant 6" blooms (rare in early bloomers).
Height: Scapes up to 38" with others at 18" are held just above the foliage.

As with many of the cultivars we are hybridizing, we like the simple clean lines of the species-like forms making the earlies we are developing easy to fit into a garden planting without looking too formal.

Another characteristic that has appeared on some of our early cultivars is dark reddish scapes and buds. This characteristic adds to the decorative feature of these cultivars. Even before the flowers open the red buds are like a garnet amongst the green.

As with many of the cultivars we are hybridizing, we like the simple clean lines of the species-like forms making the earlies we are developing easy to fit into a garden planting without looking too formal.

Another characteristic that has appeared on some of our early cultivars is dark reddish scapes and buds. This characteristic adds to the decorative feature of these cultivars. Even before the flowers open the red buds are like a garnet amongst the green.



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