Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Tue, 19 Sep 2006 07:40:49 PDT
Dear Linda,

There are a lot of Bulbine species so I think it would be really 
challenging to know for sure the identity of your plant. There are 
Australian species as well as South African species. Some of them are 
bulbous and some of them are not. Going to South African is good for making 
you lose your confidence about identifying plants because there are just so 
many that look alike and because they have so many species of a lot of 
genera. You may see something and think you know what it is only to search 
your books and find out you didn't check out the margins of the leaves or 
looked at the bracts or the corms or got your hand lens out to figure out 
whether the filaments curve over the ovary or wrap around backwards or are 
5 mm or 7 mm. I was with experts and even they were puzzled at times. I 
finally started referring to the white Ornithogalums as DWOs after we 
struggled with figuring out the difference between O. thrysoides and O. 
conicum (the inner stamens with winged expansions in the lower half that 
are strongly eared above and curved inward over the ovary versus the inner 
stamens ovate or expanded below but then with the lower expansion squared 
above and not curved inward over the ovary.) I'd be happy to share some 
close ups of some of the pictures we took of these plants if anyone can 
figure out what this means. Maybe pointing your dna meter would be easier 
after all.

But I digress. Cameron McMaster has a whole lot of Bulbine pictures on his 
CD but I haven't added them to the wiki as I'm not sure which qualify for 
our group. Some are annuals, some are perennials, and some are geophytes. I 
have grown an annual Australian one that was identified as B. semi-barbata 
I think. It produced hundreds of seeds and was very easy, but I think I 
finally stopped growing it. I think it might have lived longer than a year 
with care, but I can't remember. And I have grown B. bulbosa which is also 
Australian, but a geophyte and is now dormant and I'm not sure if it is 
supposed to be. I never got around to adding it to the wiki but it should 
qualify and I grow Bulbine frutescens which came when someone ripped out a 
piece to give me which as Jim points out is an easy way to propagate. In 
California it spreads rather aggressively I'm afraid. We saw lots and lots 
of Bulbines on our trip to South Africa and we photographed many of them, 
but didn't feel confident of IDs of most of them. There is one called B. 
torta with nice curly linear leaves that is geophytic and if any of our 
pictures of it as wiki worthy I'll add one.

Mary Sue

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