Naked ladies have been seen cavorting along the side of the roads throughout Loudoun county the past few weeks. That makes a great headline, but I am really referring to the beautiful blooming summer bulbs known as naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera). They get their name because the flowers shoot out of the ground in late July-early August and die to the ground before the foliage comes out for the fall and winter. They are also known as a surprise lily for those who are more modest.
These are summer bulbs and need to be planted in the spring. I love the different forms of Lycoris – other varieties will start blooming now or later in the summer.
Although I see them along the edges of the road as I drive about, they are not natives. The numerous different species are all native to Asia. A few species have naturalized in North America, but after careful observation, I noticed that all of the large displays along the roads were near driveways or in front of homes facing the road. The fact that they do so well is testament to their durability, even if their glorious bloom season is so short.
- Plant of the Day – Lycoris x houdyshelii (jcraulstonarboretum.wordpress.com)