Not the eight legged sort, but, instead, spider daylily photos were requested by Carol of May Dreams Gardens and Mary Ann of Idaho Gardener. On Plurk the other night, we were all discussing my article on Examiner.com on how to choose a good daylily. They seemed to enjoy it, but both of them wanted to see some spiders. So, I promised to provide them. Carol requested purple and green blooms, and Mary Ann wanted something in the apricot range if I remember correctly.
First, before I get myself in trouble with true, spider, daylily enthusiasts, I want to make something clear. The daylilies photographed in this post are not actually spiders. A daylily cannot be classified as a spider unless its petals have at least a 4.0:1 ratio. From the American Hemerocallis Society’s website:
“On a Spider, the petals and sepals are much longer in proportion to their width than a normal flower. A SPIDER is a daylily whose petal length to width ratio is at least 4.0:1. A box is provided for you to indicate if the cultivar is a SPIDER with space to record petal width and length in inches.
“Measuring a Spider daylily: For width, measure the longest petal at its widest point as naturally standing (without uncurling, unfolding, or flattening any portion of the petal). For length, stretch out the petal to its fullest and measure the length of the longest petal from its tip to the v-shaped notch formed where the adjacent sepals separate at the neck of the flower. The result of dividing the length by the width is expressed in the form of a ratio (e.g., 5.6:1 which is read “five point six to one”).”
I’m not a mathematician. I became a writer for good reason, so this always stumps me a bit, which is why I quoted the AHS website. I once was a member of the online spider robin (an email list). Huge fights have been started because a daylily was registered as a spider and then later discovered to be an Unusual Form. Those of your who think this is all a tempest in a teapot, Google “”Magic of Oz’ daylily spider or UF,” and you’ll see what I mean. ‘Magic of Oz’ won the coveted Harris Olson Spider Award in 2005, and although it is registered as a spider, it is actually a UF. The term spider only refers to the form of the bloom. Further, a daylily may have the word “spider” within its name and still not be a spider. Confused yet?
Any daylilies, which resemble spiders, but are not the correct ratio, are called Unusual Form. Again from the AHS:
“The latest registration class, designated as Unusual Form, includes crispate (pinched, twisted, or quilled floral segments); cascading (narrow curling or cascading segments); and spatulate (segments markedly wider at the end like a kitchen spatula). The Unusual Form class is based exclusively on form not on color or color patterns. An Unusual Form must display Unusual Form characteristics on at least 3 petals or 3 sepals.”
For me, the more pinched, twirly, whirly and long the petals are, the more I like it. Most of my daylilies fall into the UF category. For some reason, UF always makes me think of flying saucers, and then I laugh. Don’t these beautiful flowers at least make you smile?
When choosing either a Spider or UF, make sure you see the daylily growing. In my opinion, a fault of these forms is their propensity to have weak scapes. You can’t have a seven inch bloom on a scape which falls over. It is bad form (to use a pun). Of the ones I’ve shown here, H. ‘Karen’s Curls’ is the most floppy in my climate. In cooler weather, it might flop less. However, also note that the heat has a direct effect on whether a daylily curls, cascades, or crispates. It takes the hot weather to achieve some of this. Even with her faults, I love this daylily which blooms for a full month due to her impressive bud count.
By now, you may have noticed that none of these flowers is a spider. Surprised? I was a little. However, some of my daylilies haven’t started blooming yet. If I have time tomorrow, I will post some more of the spider-like daylilies blooming in red dirtland.
I love the daylilies!
I’m drawn to the fuller ruffly types, but your pictures of spiders (or quasi-spiders, as they may be) are gorgeous. Thanks for a good lesson about the different forms!
Brenda Kula says
I love these! Reminds me of the lilies of my youth!
Beautiful daylilies even if they are not spiders. I think sometimes we can get hung up on classification and fail to get hung up on appreciation. Spiders or not I like them anyway!
.-= Dave´s last blog ..A Few Garden Chores Accomplished =-.
Dee, Spiders are my favorite form of daylilies…but I only have one, Kindly Light. Jan’s Twister looks delightful and I am also taken with Karen’s Curls. All beautifully photographed, btw. gail
.-= Gail´s last blog ..Wild Flower Wednesday ~River Mist-ing River Oats =-.
I find all those little “battles” among the hort types very interesting. Although I always learn something from watching the fight, I’m always surprised at how seriously some people take their passion for plants.
LOVE all the daylily flowers. I don’t give a hoot if they are spiders or not…I just enjoy their show! Beautiful photos.
.-= Theresa/GardenFreshLiving´s last blog ..It’s All For The Birds =-.
Dee, it always amazes and amuses me when I hear of disputes in the gardening world. But I guess to each his own. Hadn’t heard the term UF-thanks for all the great info. Whatever lilies are, they are gorgeous. Some of it must be that red dirt!
.-= Beckie´s last blog ..Pretty-Ugly-Pretty! =-.
Lisa at Greenbow says
Now these are the large spiders I like to find in the garden. Just gorgeous.
Esther Montgomery says
I’m a Philistine. Flowers and plants fall into two broad categories for me – ones I like and ones I don’t. Then there are sub-divisions for ones which make me laugh, or cringe, or which inspire delight.
The top one falls into this last category.
.-= Esther Montgomery´s last blog ..WEDNESDAY WORD =-.
Kylee from Our Little Acre says
This was really interesting, Dee! I have a couple that were sold as spiders, but now I wonder if they really are! None blooming here yet, so we’ll have to check later. Whatever you call them, they’re unique and lovely, aren’t they?
.-= Kylee from Our Little Acre´s last blog ..Ginkgo Organic Gardens – Chicago =-.
I don’t know why I don’t have more day lilies. I guess probably because my space is kind of limited and I like things that bloom longer. Your beautiful selection is making me rethink that.
.-= Robin´s last blog ..A Bouquet from the Garden =-.
Gosh your photos are amazing. I enjoyed this article and the other too. It is good you became a writer cause you rock at it.
.-= Anna/Flowergardengirl´s last blog ..Painting The Barn Where The Lavender Is Drying =-.
Nola at the Alamo says
They are beautiful, no matter what you call them! I especially like the color of the Inky Fingers.
.-= Nola at the Alamo´s last blog ..Gone With The Wind =-.
I don’t have any spiders or close to them …but now I have spider lust. Darn!
.-= Leslie´s last blog ..GBBD June 2009 =-.
These day lilies are all new to me, and I find them to be so beautiful. I am now wondering where I can plant some *grin*
Love the spiders but I don’t have any yet. Inky Fingers for sure on the list.
.-= Layanee´s last blog ..Now Open at Our New Location =-.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening says
I didn’t realize there was a UF class either. I’m going to have to look at mine with a more critical eye.
.-= Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2009 =-.
Mr. McGregor's Daughter says
These UFO Daylilies have a charm not to be found in the round blossomed forms. I’m aware of the nitpicking surrounding spider forms, which I always find amusing, as I get to observe it from the outside.
.-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..A Residential Green Roof and Raingarden =-.
Carol, May Dreams Gardens says
Spider or UF, I love them all. I’m going to my local daylily farm more often this summer to pick out some that we have growing locally, after I see them in bloom.
Thanks for an enlightening post, Dee!
.-= Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog ..Weeding Therapy: Good For The Garden And The Gardener =-.
Annie in Austin says
Kindly Light was a favorite daylily back in Illinois, Dee, so thanks to Carol & Mary Ann for requesting photos of your spider-types. Thanks to you for the background on the arguments about classification. Whether or not your daylilies are official – they’re beautiful!
Annie at the Transplantable Rose
.-= Annie in Austin´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, June 2009 =-.
Hi Annie, I love ‘Kindly Light.’ It’s very soft and beautiful, but I don’t have it right now. At least I don’t think I do. Thanks.~~Dee
Cindy, MCOK says
I’ve found myself more and more drawn to the “unusual forms” in recent years. I’m very fond of Long Stockings, which is currently reblooming in my garden.
.-= Cindy, MCOK´s last blog ..Getting Stoned on My Corner of Katy =-.
Hey, Cindy, in the fall, wanna trade some ‘Long Stockings’ for some ‘Karen’s Curls’? I’m just sayin’ . . . .~~Dee