Romuleas including mystery species

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 19 Feb 2006 08:01:51 PST
Dear All,

Here in coastal Northern California like other areas of North America we 
had unusually warm weather followed by colder than usual weather. In that 
earlier period I  had a lot of bulbs blooming in my garden, including many 
that usually don't bloom this time of the year. A lot of my Romuleas have 
bloomed. Since this is one of my favorite genera I have been enjoying the 
show. I have added to the wiki some pictures of a number of plants blooming 
for the first time this year. It has been frustrating to me that so often 
the Romuleas I have grown from seed don't turn out to be the species they 
are supposed to be. This has especially been true of seed exchange seed. 
There seem to be a lot of small flowered Romulea species that could be 
called "collector" species that must be easy to flower and set a lot of 
seed because they end up offered in exchanges as something a lot more 
desirable. If I repot and have the time to spend I will look at the corm 
when the plant is dormant before the plant blooms to see if the corm looks 
like what it is supposed to be for the  named species I have seeds of and 
if at that stage I can tell the corm is wrong, I will write on the tag a 
description to help me when I try to key them out when they do bloom. I 
don't have anything that tells me what the corms are like except for the 
South African species. I wrote on the back of the tag of the first one 
pictured below minutiflora corm and indeed when it bloomed it seemed to be 
that species instead of the one I was hoping for.…

The marked form of Romulea tortuosa is stunning and this year I finally had 
one blooming that was the real thing.…

I have added pictures to the Mystery bulb page of two species blooming a 
week plus ago when it was warmer that are blooming for the first time this 
year. I am hoping someone can help me identify them. I can't tell you about 
the corms. Since Robin Attrill has a UK Romulea collection I hope he has a 
clue. One was a tiny violet pink (a strange way to describe it, but it 
looked violet until I took a picture and the picture looked pink so I 
looked at it more closely and it did seem to have a pinkish tinge.) Does it 
look familiar to anyone? Could it be European?

The second one is from South Africa and I really like it. Unfortunately 
I've not had a lot of success growing it. Eleven seeds from Silverhill Seed 
germinated originally in October 2001 and this is the first year I've had 
any bloom and sadly there are only two corms left. It was listed as Romulea 
namaquensis ? so clearly Rod and Rachel weren't sure what it was.

In the most recent Goldblatt and Manning monograph on Romulea, R. 
namaquensis is described as having filaments inserted above the middle of 
the tube that are often dark. I don't think this is true of these plants. 
The inner bracts have a wide transparent or brown-flecked margins. I don't 
know how to define "wide" but the bract margin looks narrow transparent to 
me. The previous de Vos monograph described the outer perianth segments as 
irregularly blotched on the back and the back of this flower doesn't seem 
to fit that description. Her description of this species is "distinguished 
by its usually pink flowers with very little yellow in the base, and with 
maroon filaments (rarely yellow) inserted just above the middle of the 
rather long perianth tube." I would say that my flower has yellow at the 
base. Can anyone help me with either of these?…


Mary Sue

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