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Spider Daylilies


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The humble daylily, once limited to a few varieties of hybrid cultivars, now blooms in more colors and forms than could have been imagined by early hobbyists.

Ratio

  • Spiders must have sepals and petals that grow in a length to width ratio of at least 5 to 1. Modern breeders aim for large flowers with longer, narrower segments.

Size

  • Older diploid spider flowers measured from 2 to 4 inches across. Modern diploid Pink Super Spider has 10-inch flowers. Tetraploid Royal Celebration’s blooms spread 12 inches across.

Segments

  • Most spiders have three inner petals and three outer sepals, collectively called segments. Petit and Peat list five descriptively named shapes for daylily segments; pinched, twisted, quilled, spatulate and cascading.

Diploids and Tetraploids

  • Early spiders were diploids — they had a set of chromosomes from each parent. Recent emphasis is on developing tetraploids — plants which have four sets of chromosomes that allow wider variety. Diploids and tetraploids cannot cross-fertilize.

Spider Variants

  • Daylilies whose flower segments have a ratio of greater than 4 to 1 but less than the requisite 5 to 1 are called "spider variants." Flowers with smaller ratios but unusual segment forms are just "unusuals."

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