Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Daylily as Art - Part 4 Form 1

The Daylily as Art


Influences on Plant and Flower aesthetics from Nature, the Arts, Fashion and Pop Culture
Part 4 - Forms - simple and natural

The wild species clones occur in two basic forms - open star and trumpet star. We do see some variation within the species clones in regard to these two forms. Some have thinner petals while others have wider petals. Some have very tailored edges while others have some ruffling. Some show almost no recurve at all, while others show considerable recurve to petals and/or sepals. The above photo with the blog post title shows H. fulva 'Korean', which is a simple open star with little recurve.


Above - two different clones of H. citrina showing extreme trumpet form with slight recurve of the petals and sepals, both with fairly thin petals.



Above - two pictures of H. vespertina showing an extreme trumpet form with little recurve and wider petals than the citrina clones.

H. dumortierii showing an open star shape with thin petals and very little recurve.

H. fulva 'Europa' showing the open star form and some recurve of both petals and sepals. The petal width is moderate, neither thin or wide, and there is very slight ruffling.

H. fulva 'Kwanso' showing an open star form with moderate petal width and strong recurve to all parts. It also shows 'stamen-transformation' doubling.

H. fulva forma rosea 'Rosalind' showing an open star form with thin petals, recurve in both petals and sepals and considerable ruffling.

H. fulva 'Hankow' clone showing a form very similar to H. f. rosea 'Rosalind' pictured above - open star, thin petals, recurve and some ruffling, though less than the 'Rosalind' shown above.


I have to say that I really like both of the basic species-type forms - open star and trumpet star. The first daylilies I saw in childhood were species clones. They were my original imprint and influence on what a daylily is. So you might say that the aesthetic influence I draw from nature on these forms is the form nature gave the daylilies. I love the open star form especially, though I like the trumpet star as well. With the trumpet form, I prefer modern bells-and-whistles added, but for the open star types, it is the fulva clones that influence me most, and what I am looking for in open star flower is the natural, fulva-derived form. So the natural influence on my interest in hybrid daylilies in the open star and trumpet star forms is none other than the wild daylilies themselves.

In the hybrid daylilies, my taste in the trumpet form is for upward facing flowers that have nice recurve of petals and sepals and a lot of ruffling on both. This gives them more openness at the opening and the ruffles give more movement. Interesting colors can then be combined in the trumpet form as well.


A great little trumpet form melon seedling with recurved petals and sepals and ruffling.

A near white trumpet form seedling. This one has wider petals with thinner sepals.

The open star is actually my favorite basic shape. I love that shape in the hybrids and I love the shape in combination with any and all fancy traits you could imagine adding to it.

There is more to form than just whether the flower is open or trumpet shaped, though, and we will look at the form variations over the next few posts. For now, I want to outline the basic form variations as a reference point to the upcoming posts.

While the two basic forms of the species are open or closed star, in the hybrids the focus has mainly been on the more open form. The next departure is petal width, of which there is some variation in the species, as I mentioned above. 

For much of the time daylilies have been hybridized in Western gardens, the focus has predominantly been on wider and rounder petals, though some have focused on thinner petals. These two directions in petal width have given us round/ruffled forms, "bagels" forms (round with recurve), and the narrow petalled unusual forms (which combine other form variations as well, such as pinching, quilling, cascade (i.e., recurve with long, narrow petals), etc.), as well as the thinnest petalled types called 'spider forms'.

More extreme variations have also been pursued, many having become a focus more recently. One such interesting modern form is very flat flowers that open with little to no trumpet in the throat (as in the Substantial Evidence family lines, Lights of Detroit and some of the Siloam cultivars). Another interesting area involves a range of sculpting types such as pleating (folded petals), relief forms (thick heavy texture that is raised coming from the throat out onto the petals) and cristates (which show petal flounces or extensions of petal tissue that stand out around or on the midrib). Finally, there are the double flowers and the various edging adornments (ruffles, pie-crust, teeth, hook, knobs, etc.). Another aspect of form is size of the flower, especially when considered in combinations such as tall scapes with small flowers, minis with small flowers on short scapes and very large flowers on most any height of scape, etc.

We will look at all these forms in this series, but I would like to close this post with a discussion of the open star form.


Open Star Form
H fulva 'Korean' showing the lovely star shaped flower with a star formed within the flower by the throat and eye pattern.

As stated above, the open star derives from the species forms such as the various fulva clones. However, there are many cultivars, old and newer, that show this form. I find it especially lovely, as it is elegant and allows any patterning on both the petals and sepals to be seen. This allows the star pattern made from throat/eye band on petals and sepals to be seen clearly, forming a star which is then repeated in the form of the overall flower. I personally find the repetition of the star shape of the flower and then the star formed in the throat/eye pattern to be especially lovely and 'complete', in the since that it all feels 'of a piece', to me...a hexagram within a hexagram.



There are many cultivars that show this open star form. The basic star form will tend to be neither thin nor wide, being in-between much like the fulva clones and will tend to have fairly pointed petals and sepals, and perhaps a bit of ruffling. However, the open star form can be combined with many of the other form traits, such as edgings, recurve, sculpting, narrowness (spider or unusual form), roundness or flat form, and can occur in any size. As well, any combination of colors or color patterns can be made on the open star types.


Cherokee Vision showing narrowness, ruffling and a bit of recurve.

Galaxy Explosion showing some narrowness with a bit of recurve and pinching at the petal ends.

Lavender Arrowhead shows the star form combined with rounded petal ends and a bit of edging on the petals and is a bitone.

Linda is an old Stout cultivar (that is still a great garden plant and breeder) that shows the star form with a bit of ruffling and a bit of recurve.

Carmine Monarch is a brightly colored star form with mild recurve and a touch of ruffling.

Wind Master is a narrow star form that shows lovely patterning and more thinness of the petals and sepals than the fulva clones.

Frans Hals shows the star form with well recurved sepals and some recurve on the petals and a bit of width to the petals, combined with high contrast bicolor red/orange and gold coloring.

This seedling shows the open star form with more rounded ends on petals and sepals.

Megatron shows the star shape and is combined with large size and some slight recurve.

Swamp Apparition shows the star form combined with more rounded ends and slight recurve.

Wilson Spider shows star form combined with narrowness, recurve and clear lavender/purple color.

Brown Exotica shoes a very nice example of the star form and is combined with amazingly rich brown color, some recurve and slight quilling.

Prairie Blue Eyes shows the star form with rounded ends and some recurve.

Parallel Universe shows the star form with wider petals, slight recurve, a watermark, clean lavender color and a narrow piecrust edging.

This seedling shows the star form with pinching of the petal ends, a crinkled edge, slight recurve and slight relief sculpting originating from the throat coming out onto the petals, combined with electrifying orange coloring.


This seedling shows the star form with rounded petals and sepals, a subtle band on the petals, bitone coloring in the purple and lavender tones and piecrust edging.

Tooth and Nail is a star form showing recurve, a bicoloring similar to Frans Hals and prominent teeth on the edges on petals and often on sepals, as well.

Wow Factor shows the star form combined with petal pinching, recurve of sepals, contrasting eye/edge on a lavender bicolor with prominent teeth, strong contrasting midribs and a big green throat.

Maybe some day we can make the basic open star form as intricate as this image?
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In the next installment we will continue with forms not seen in the species types and what influences me in my tastes with those forms.