Times Past, Pausing to Remember


Everything has a history. Even daylilies. These plants are of the lily family and are related to hyacinths and onions. Hemerocallis (meaning "beauty for a day") are native to the countries in the temperate parts of Japan, Siberia, Korea, China, and Eurasia. The use of the daylily by ancient Chinese people began before the development of written language. The earliest records report the plants' use for food. The flower buds were palatable, digestible, and nutritious. As a medicine the root and crown were found to be a good pain reliever. The utilization of the daylily for food and medicine became a part of the tradition of the Chinese people.

Originally only in shades of yellow and orange, hybridizers have been working since the 1930s to create variety in color, pattern, and other attributes.

Daylilies are tough plants able to survive under all kinds of conditions, including complete neglect. They proliferate in and near abandoned home sites in their original orange color, spreading slowly but with great tenacity.

Some gardeners consider them the perfect perennial, withstanding a variety of climatic conditions and free from almost all pests. They bloom over a long period - several weeks - and some varieties will bloom more than once in a season. Daylilies are now available in all colors except pure white and pure blue.