Eremurus // is a genus of 35-40 deciduous perennial flowers, also known as the foxtail lilies or desert candles. The inflorescence looks similar to a long spike or a bottlebrush. It consists of many flowers in copper, bright yellow, snow white, pastel pink, orange or any combination of those colors. The leaves grow in tufts of thin, green, straplike strips. Species are known for thick roots that grow out from a central hub. It is also known for being tall, sometimes rising up to 10 feet over the foliage, depending on the variety. These plants are generally native to western and central Asia, although Eremurus thiodanthus is endemic to the Crimea.
Eremurus is hardy to USDA Zones 5-7. In addition to the species named below, hybrids are sold, such as 'Cleopatra'. The octopus-like tuberous roots are easily injured; planting on a cone of soil, with the crown on the peak and the roots hanging down, is recommended. Plants are readily affected by winter root rot, so that a layer of sand or gravel beneath is recommended to ensure drainage. Covering with compost or mulch provides protection from frost.
Species and varieties
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- Eremurus himalaicus: one of the hardiest species of the Eremurus genus; this plant is native to the temperate Himalayas.
- Eremurus elwesii: native to Northern Iran, these pale green/yellow flowers grow in open grassland.
- Eremurus bungei: this Eremurus has yellow inflorescences that grow 2 to 3 feet long; native to Iran.
- Eremurus olgae: a dwarf Eremurus flowering in June or July, making it one of the last species to flower; a native of Turkestan.
- Eremurus tubergenii
- Eremurus warei
- Eremurus shelfordii
- Eremurus stenophyllus: a tufted Eremurus with partially hairy, green-gray leaves.
- Eremurus robustus: an Eremurus native to Tian Shan and Pamir Mountains in central Asia; the stem grows from 6 to 10 feet high.
- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
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