Seed pods - good or bad?
Tue, 29 Jun 2004 21:15:46 PDT
From: "diana chapman" wrote:

>Since with most California geophytes the 
>foliage has pretty much withered by the time 
>the plant is in full bloom, it seems to me that
>by the time seed is developing the plant must
>draw nutrients from the bulb or corm.  
>Otherwise, the green stem would have to provide, 
>through photosynthesis, all the starches and 
>sugars needed for the developing seed.  Maybe 
>that's possible, but since Calochortus and the 
>Brodiaea group produce a lot of seed, it seems

Interesting point.  This response for ALLIUM only.  I have found that many 
allium, in the species that have true bulbs rather than rhizomes, that the 
flower stems are often virtually dehisced from the bulb at the flowering stage.  
This is particularly true of dryland American alliums, and among certain 
sections of the genus Allium.  If one where to cut off a flowering allium stem at 
early anthesis, placed in a vase, and keep for weeks, you might be surprised to 
find that it continues to develop, and some viable seed will be produced.  
Apomixis is in evidence with a number of Allium species, needing no cross 
fertilization to make seed.  In many species of Allium, the gone-to-seed stem detaches 
and pulls off the bulb almost immediately.

So, for allium, I think I could generalize and suggest that leaving the 
drying flower stem and foliage has no beneficial effect for the bulb, in Allium 
species that have true bulbs only.  None of these comments apply to rhizomatous 
sections of the genus, or those species that have a combination of bulb and 

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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