Dichelostemma volubile

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sat, 11 Feb 2006 16:29:01 PST
Jim McK asked,
>Dichelostemma volubile is sprouting now with a thick sprout and I'm
>wondering what to do with it.

First, it should indeed be in a deep pot, because like others of the 
Brodiaea alliance, the deeper the bulb gets, the bigger the inflorescence 
(in general).

The twining is done by the long scape (flower stem), which is stout and 
bare of leaves. It will corkscrew around anything it touches, including 
other Dichelostemma stems. It can get almost a meter long but mine here are 
usually about 50 cm. If there is nothing nearby to twine on, it will flower 
on a shorter stem.

A curious thing about this plant is that by the time it flowers, the scape 
is essentially separated from the bulb and can actually fall over or 
otherwise be detached. If the long stem remains attached to the 
inflorescence, it will continue to bloom, and set and ripen seed, quite 
detached from bulb and soil; apparently there's enough moisture in the 
scape to support all this.

Although D. volubile comes from some dry summer areas, it usually grows 
where there is some moisture in the soil, such as on north slopes, near 
seeps, and so on. This should make it adaptable to summer-rain climates.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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