Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 19 Jun 2005 10:17:26 PDT
Dear All,

Since my part of Northern California has been experiencing winter lately 
(rain, high temperatures in the 50ties) I've had some time to update the 
Calochortus wiki page and add a lot of new images and text. I am a bit 
worried about what the rain will do to my Calochortus since I've read not 
to water them after they start blooming and most have bloomed or were 
blooming. We'll see.

On our trip to central California in April we encountered a number of 
Calochortus in the wild. In Kern County we saw Calochortus amoenus (a 
pretty pink globe kind) growing not far from the road on a grassy bank. It 
is one of my favorites so that was a thrill. So I've added pictures of it.

We also stopped when we saw what looked like Calochortus right alongside 
the road, so close in fact that cars had wiped out a few when they pulled 
over. We puzzled over them and I immediately remembered reading in Mariposa 
(the Calochortus newsletter now edited by Diana Chapman) about what Jim and 
Georgie Robinett called the Calochortus luteus-superbus complex. C. luteus 
is usually yellow with a lunate (crescent-shaped) nectary and C. superbus 
white or yellow but also other colors with the gland described as an 
inverted v. The Robinetts however described 4 other possibilities for that 
gland they and others had found in the wild. So the plants we saw are 
probably some of these mixed types that don't fall neatly in a category. We 
also saw one near Lake Isabella that we thought might have been C. venustus 
but I'm now thinking could fit the C. superbus type with one of those other 
gland shapes. I included a number of the pictures since there was such a 
variation and to remind everyone that when you look at a picture of a 
species in a book and think your plant isn't exactly like it so must be 
something else that there is great variety in nature and not all the plants 
of a species are going to resemble one picture. I've put all these under 
superbus, but welcome the opinions of the Calochortus experts in the group 
about what they are.

I also added some pictures of some Calochortus luteus we saw near Merced 
when we were searching for the vernal pools near where they were planning 
to build the new University of California. We drove down this country road, 
fenced on either side and saw mostly drying grasses, but eventually some 
blooming Calochortus luteus, Brodiaea californica var. leptandra and 
Triteleia hyacinthina all in the same spot.

I've also replaced some old pictures with ones I liked better and added a 
few new types: better albus picture, new argillosus Bay picture, new 
southern form of argillosus picture, additional garden superbus pictures, 
better splendens, side view of C. venustus that was especially nice  I 
thought this spring, and a better white vestae. Blooming for the first time 
for me this year and perhaps the last since it isn't supposed to like my 
wetter climate and we've had all this late rain, was C. simulans which 
looks a bit like C. catalinae from a distance which is apparently how it 
got its name. And I've added more text about some of these wonderful 
plants. I mentioned in a recent post how many different insects since 
attracted to Calochortus. Sometimes you see more than one kind wallowing 
around in the flowers at the same time. I captured a few of these in some 
of those pictures.…

Mary Sue

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