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Hymenocallis littoralis: Tropical Beauty in Your Garden

Hymenocallis littoralis is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. It has tall cylindrical stems that are dark green in color. The leaves are small, oval lanceolate in shape, and have no petioles. The flowers are large, polygonal, and white in color with a smooth surface. The fruit is small and spherical with a […]

Hymenocallis littoralis is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. It has tall cylindrical stems that are dark green in color. The leaves are small, oval lanceolate in shape, and have no petioles.

The flowers are large, polygonal, and white in color with a smooth surface. The fruit is small and spherical with a thin skin, and the seeds are small and dark brown. The flowering period is in late summer to early autumn.

The stamens of the Spider Lily are located at the throat, while the lower part forms a funnel-shaped corolla resembling crab legs or spider legs, hence the name “Spider Lily”.

Spider Lily is native to tropical America and is widely cultivated for ornamental purposes in southern China. It prefers bright light and partial shade, and thrives in warm and humid climates.

It is not frost-tolerant and slightly drought-tolerant. Spider Lily prefers sandy or loamy soil rich in organic matter. It is commonly propagated through division of bulbs.

Hymenocallis littoralis

Spider Lily has the medicinal properties of promoting blood circulation, relieving swelling and pain.

It is used to treat rheumatism, bruises, abscesses, hemorrhoids, and other ailments. The elegant leaves and unique flower shape of Spider Lily make it suitable for potted cultivation and ornamental display.

I. Historical Botany

The stamens of the Spider Lily are located at the throat, while the lower part forms a funnel-shaped corolla resembling crab legs or spider legs, hence the name “Spider Lily”.

II. Morphological Characteristics

Hymenocallis littoralis

Spider Lily is a perennial herbaceous plant with bulbs. It has 10-12 sword-shaped leaves, measuring 45-75 cm in length and 2.5-6 cm in width. The leaves are dark green, multi-veined, and have no petioles.

The flower stems are flattened and reach a height of 30-80 cm. The inflorescence consists of a spathe-like bract, measuring 5-8 cm in length, with a wide base. The flowers are borne on the top of the stem, white in color, and have no stalks.

The perianth tube is slender, varying in length, with longer ones reaching over 20 cm. The perianth lobes are linear and usually shorter than the perianth tube.

The cup-shaped structure (androecium cup) is bell-shaped or wide funnel-shaped, measuring about 2.5 cm in length, with teeth. The filamentous part of the stamen separates and measures 3-5 cm in length.

The style is approximately equal to or longer than the stamen. The flowers are greenish-white and fragrant. The fruit is ovoid or annular, fleshy, and splits when ripe. The seeds are sponge-like and green in color.

III. Origin and Habitat

Spider Lily is native to tropical America, specifically the West Indies. It thrives in warm and humid environments and is not tolerant of cold temperatures.

It prefers fertile soil, ample sunlight, and climbing to higher positions to receive sufficient light. Spider Lily prefers sandy or loamy soil rich in organic matter.

IV. Propagation Methods

Spider Lily is commonly propagated through division of bulbs.

Division of bulbs: Plant the bulbs in the ground in autumn, and store them indoors when dry. Planting can be done in spring, making sure not to plant too deep, with the neck of the bulb level with the ground.

The offsets can be planted slightly deeper. In northern China, it is mostly cultivated in greenhouses throughout the year, but can also be planted outdoors in spring.

V. Cultivation Techniques

For potted cultivation, plant in March, and for outdoor planting, early May is recommended, after the last frost. Keep the soil moist during the growth period and fertilize every 30 days.

Provide partial shade during strong sunlight in summer. During winter, store the dormant bulbs indoors at a temperature of 17-20℃, using dry sawdust for storage. The winter temperature should not drop below 15℃.

Repotting can be done in conjunction with spring. In winter, cultivate in a greenhouse with ample sunlight, controlling watering appropriately. In summer, cultivate under a shade structure and provide sufficient water during the flowering period.

For outdoor cultivation, place the bulbs in a warm and sunny spot in a greenhouse with ample light in April to stimulate root activity. Choose a planting location with sufficient sunlight and sandy or loamy soil rich in organic matter.

Deep plow the soil in the previous autumn and apply base fertilizer. Plow again in spring of the following year, apply base fertilizer again, and prepare the planting bed.

Plant in late May, with a soil covering depth of 3-5 cm and a bulb spacing of 15-20 cm. Harvest the bulbs promptly when the leaves turn yellow and store them at around 8℃ after drying for planting the following year.

VI. Disease and Pest Control

The main diseases of Spider Lily are leaf spot disease and leaf scorch disease. When a small amount is found, remove the affected leaves and dispose of them. When the infestation is severe, spray with a 75% mancozeb wettable powder at a dilution of 500 times to control the infestation.

VII. Main Uses

Ornamental

Spider Lily has beautiful leaves and unique flower shape, standing tall and elegant. It is suitable for potted cultivation and ornamental display. Spider Lily has beautiful leaves and flowers, with a flowering period from June to July.

The flowers are white, generally large in size, with thick petals covered in wax. They are usually yellow-green to yellow in color, with some brown or purplish-brown spots.

The petals are usually slender and well-separated, resembling the long legs of a spider, while the central part of the flower can be seen as the body of a spider.

It often has a downward bend at the top. It is suitable for potted cultivation and ornamental display. In warm regions, it can be used for yard landscaping or in flower beds.

Medicinal

Leaves: Pungent and warm. It promotes blood circulation, relieves swelling and pain. It is used for rheumatism, paronychia, bruises, abscesses, and hemorrhoids.

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Peggie

Peggie

Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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