A mystery solved, sort of - Sternbergia colchiciflora

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Fri, 02 Feb 2007 08:09:18 PST
I wonder how many other people thought what I thought on reading John
Lonsdale's post: doesn't this remind us of something? 


That something is the way the seed capsules of Crocus korolkowii form
underground and never appear at the surface. 


Synge described Colchicum colchiciflora as sweetly scented, so perhaps this
species has a pollinator which responds to scent and not to the sort of
visual clues provided by petals. Or, maybe those seeds are produced by


This species is also described elsewhere as having a short style. It would
be interesting to know if the plants which bloom underground have long
styles which protrude above ground. 


There are orchids which bloom underground, too: maybe this Sternbergia is
moving in that direction. 


John, when you say "why do some plants do this and others not", are you
saying that certain plants always do this and certain other plants always do
not, or are you saying that a given plant might or might not do it depending
on some limiting factor? As I read your full query, it seems to suggest the
latter. But isn't the former a possibility?


Keep us posted: this is fascinating. 



Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7

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