Rand Nicholson
Thu, 10 Jun 2004 07:38:22 PDT
Jane & Jim:

I came by a "Corn Lily" some five years ago when my brother dug some woodland ferns out of a ditch on his property for my garden. He has a design engineer's eye and thought that the plant was architecturally attractive. I had no idea what it was until this list discussed corn lilies recently, but it was woodland, so I planted it near a cedar on a free draining slope. The rhizome was monstrous and had to be carried cradled in both arms.

In retrospect, I am surprised that it grew, because it received very little water, the cedar being a sponge and all, but it not only grew, it flourished and bloomed. The flower spike consisted of small green flowers and eventually reached a height of over seven feet. I must admit that, on the plant, the blooming was less than distinguished, although full. When cut, however, taken indoors and put in a flower arrangement ( not my idea), it was quite striking, even impressive, looking like some huge demented delphinium and staying in good form for weeks. 

The deer avoided otherwise tasty plants for about five feet around the corn lily for some reason undetectable to me, although I know the plant is toxic. I moved it to my new home this spring and it is sulking at two feet high. Since I have had it, this plant has never seen wet conditions and has grown relatively dry, but does not seem too concerned. Perhaps it would grow and spread faster if I could provide a ditch-side habitat. I would love to have a Veratrum with a showier bloom, but do not know of any others that are native to this region (Maritime Canada), or that might be suitable to grow here. I have never seen any offered in catalogues.


>Dear all;
>	Don't know why Veratrum are not more widely grown. They are very handsome plants. Few seem to appear in specialty nursery catalogs.
>	A native species I have grown for years is V. woodii. My plant was originally dug from the wild in Iowa, but it is also found in east MO and I have seen it in around the AR/OK border. Apparently it gets E. to Ohio.
>	Don't know if anyone sells it, but it is certainly garden worthy. Blooms every year and next round I'll send fresh seed to the seed exchange.
>	V. woodii is a smaller plant with pleated leaves forming an upright shape. The flowering spike gets to perhaps 3 - 4 feet with many (hundreds) of small star-shaped dull brown flowers over a long period.
>	Best	Jim W.

Rand Nicholson
Zone 5b Eastern Maritime Canada

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