Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not so Cool Tricyrtis virus?

I've always been a fan of the Tricyrtis or Toad Lily, particularly for their late, orchid-like blossoms. It was only recently that I was to learn about the origins of the name, thanks to Dr. Armitage, who said it likely refers to the three toad-like bumps that are visible when you view a flower from the reverse angle. This makes sense to me.

Above is the variety 'Taipei Silk', and if you look closely at the bottom or rear of the buds that are just about to open, you can see the "toad-like" bumps.

In any case, they are beautiful flowers that provide subtle colour and exotic form to the late summer or fall, partially-shaded garden. However I was shocked to also learn recently that some of the "spotting" characteristics on some well-known cultivars, may be due to a virus. Chris Wilson of Hallson Gardens seems to be on the cutting edge of this discovery and writes about it here.

The above is the cultivar 'Empress" and may be part of the group that is virus-infected. It's unfortunate because this was one of my favourties for vigour and colour. This may lend to the question, "Who cares if it has a virus?"

Here's to dirt under your nails.


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