Northern California wildflowers/Fritillarias in bloom

Mary Sue Ittner
Fri, 04 Mar 2005 07:56:32 PST
Dear All,

My part of California is behind in total rainfall for the year even though 
we have had more rain than some areas of southern California where they are 
150% above normal. Our wildflower display is yet to come although some of 
the woodland flowers are blooming. My Cardamine has been nice for months 
and we are seeing Trillium ovatum here and there and many of the spring 
flowers are breaking dormancy and appearing with their fresh green leaves 
like Clintonia, Smilacina, and various Lilium. Yesterday I saw Calypso 
orchids and some early blooming Zigadenus fremontii on my walk. I've 
scattered seed of various things in my garden over the years and have 
leaves in some of those places, but no clue what they might be some day if 
they continue to come back. There are a couple that have a Scoliopus leaf 
look to them, but don't know if I dare hope that is what they are. I have 
at least one Trillium.

Although as I have reported I have hundreds of different kinds of bulbs 
blooming in containers and raised beds, most are not native. In one of my 
raised beds I do have blooming Fritillaria biflora and Fritillaria liliacea 
and I think Bob Werra said F. pluriflora is blooming in the wild in Bear 
Valley. I am pleased these two Frits of mine are blooming for the second 
time as I've not found North American Fritillaria very easy. Diana Chapman 
wrote an interesting piece in the Nargs Bulletin a number of years ago 
indicating many of them needed warmer summers than I have. I've added a few 
additional pictures of F. liliacea to the wiki. It is a very tiny thing and 
therefore hard to photograph and I still can't detect a fragrance.…

Actually my track record with Fritillaria in general is not very good. 
However, blooming this year from an old IBS BX from Aug 2001 courtesy of 
Jane McGary is Fritillaria davisii (also offered to this group by her in 
Pacific BX 43). I've added pictures of it to the wiki:…

The recent discussion of Jim McKenney and Paul Tyerman about Jim's mystery 
Frit. makes me agree that looking at pictures of these in books makes it 
difficult to tell them apart. There was another one I had that was going to 
bloom this year for the first time from seed (many years from sowing) and I 
eagerly awaited the opening, checking it out every day. Alas, on the day I 
was sure to see something, the flower was gone and some of the leaves 
chomped as well. Which birds like Fritillaria do you suppose? Could it be 
the crested blue vultures (also known as scrub Jays) that are so in love 
with pulling out my plant tags and planting acorns in my bulb pots?

Mary Sue
in Northern California where we had rain last night and showers predicted today 

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