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Daylilies with Mormon Names

By: Edje Jeter - September 15, 2013

For this month’s discussion of material culture I want to contribute an example of a (presumed) Mormon giving Book-of-Mormon names to flowers. Daylilies are a common (at least the in US) landscaping flower that can be hybridized to create cultivars with a wide variety of colors and shapes. The American Hemerocallis Society’s Online Daylily Database has 75,000 entries, a few dozen of which come from RJ (Jack) Roberson. About thirty of Roberson’s cultivars have Mormon names. [1] 

Roberson’s company, American Daylily & Perennials, sells King Lamoni, Lavender Nephite, Mormon, Mormon Halo, Mormon Spider, Raspberry Lehi, and Righteous Remnant. [2] In a 2009 email to me, Jo Roberson (Jack’s wife and business partner) wrote that:

He [Jack] chose this theme in general due to our appreciation of the Book of Mormon. More specifically, when naming the individual varieties, he gave a lot of thought to the plant and how its characteristics seemed to “fit” with someone or something in the Book of Mormon. [3]

I don’t have any academic analysis to offer at this point other than that I think there are probably interesting things to be said about the giving of religious-themed names to not-obviously-religious objects. [4] Below are images of some of Roberson’s daylilies. [5]

Hemerocallis Montage 3x5 20130915a

The names are, left to right, top to bottom [6]: Row 1: 1 Ammon, 2 Zarahemla, 3 Mormon Lemon Tart, 4 Lavender Nephite, 5 Mormon; Row 2: 1 Double Deseret, 2 Righteous Remnant, 3 King Lamoni, 4 Helaman, 5 Double Deseret; Row 3: 1 Helaman, 2 Ebony Lamanite, 3 Mormon Halo, 4 Raspberry Lehi, 5 Mormon Spider.

I believe it obligatory in a post like this to quote Ned Desaules [7]:

Je ne crois pas que la cultivation des fleurs est une chose inutile. Par s’il faut que Sion fleurisse comme la rose, il faut bien qu’il y aient des fleurs.

I do not think that the cultivation of flowers is a useless thing, because if Zion is going to blossom as the rose, there must needs be flowers.

 



[1] An American Daylily and Perennials press release has more info on Roberson. If I’ve identified them correctly, the Mormon-named cultivars are: Abinadi, Ammon, Brother of Jared, Daughter of Ishmael, Double Deseret, Ebony Lamanite, Gentian Nephite, Helaman, King Benjamin, King Lamoni, Laman, Lamanite Rainbow, Lamanite Sunset, Lamanite Warrior, Land Bountiful, Lavender Nephite, Lehi, Lemuel, Liahona, Lilac Mormon, Mormon, Mormon Halo, Mormon Lemon Tart, Mormon Spider, Moroni, Mosiah, Nephi, Prophecy of Samuel, Raspberry Lehi, Sword of Laban, and Zarahemla. Other of Roberson’s efforts that might have a Mormon connection include: Ancient Alter, Blushing Sariah, Divine Intervention, Divine Providence, Israel’s Sunset, Marvelous Work, Righteous Remnant, Sariah, Sariah’s Rose, Tree of Life, and Zion’s Praises.

[2] They also sell 350+ other daylily varieties. Helaman is on the website but is “currently unavailable.”

[3] Jo Roberson, email to Edje Jeter, 2009 Jul 29 Wed 1235. Copy in my possession; quoted with permission.

[4] I have not searched in detail, but there is at least three other examples of daylilies with Mormon names: Words of Abinadi, Land of Ammonihah, and Mormon Pioneer Trail, all by Stoneking-Jones.

[5] Rather pretty images of many of these daylilies appear on Flickr and Picasa (try Ebony Lamanite and Double Deseret in particular).

[7] Henri Edouard (Ned) Desaules, letter to Marie Julie Desaules Desaules, 11 April 1874, Desaules papers, LDS Archives, as transcribed and translated by Ardis Parshall (Times and Seasons, 2008 July 30, comment 4). See also here, here, here, and here.

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7 Comments

  1. Ned would be pleased. *I* am.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 15, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  2. I had no idea. I need to take out a holly; perhaps I should replace it with a Double Deseret or a Raspberry Lehi. (Those sound like drinks.)

    This past summer when my family was in Utah we attended a class on urban foraging and ate a salad which included daylily buds. It was tasty, but I don’t think I would be eating the buds of these show flowers!

    Comment by Amy T — September 15, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  3. I now really want to go plant a Righteous Remnant. That would be cruel and unusual punishment though, since I have zero talent for gardening whatsoever.

    Thanks, Edje.

    Comment by Saskia T — September 16, 2013 @ 11:03 am

  4. Fascinating, Edje. I knew nothing about this, and thus found it especially interesting. Thanks, as always.

    Comment by Christopher — September 16, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  5. They do sound like drinks, Amy!

    Edje, your awesomeness is apparently endless. This is a really great post (as ever).

    Comment by J. Stapley — September 16, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

  6. Thanks, Ardis, Amy, Saskia, Christopher, and J.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — September 16, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

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