ref Bulbous Genus 'BRODIAEA' in Alliaceae

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 12 Apr 2008 18:31:44 PDT
Dear Iain,

In 2003 and 2004 I organized a topic of the week where each week or less 
often in the second year we talked about a subject of interest. Usually 
someone introduced the topic and some of these introductions were very 
thorough and enlightening. I linked them all to the wiki so they could be 
easily found at a later date.

We talked about three genera in what we call the Brodiaea alliance: 
Brodiaea, Dichelostemma, Triteleia. Some are still considering these to 
belong to the Themidaceae family. Since many of these plants are native to 
California and I am interested in my native plants I did the introductions. 
Some of the species are mountain plants and would be under snow in winter. 
Others are foothill plants where it wouldn't be as cold, but certainly 
freezing during their growing period. Others are coastal where temperatures 
are more moderate. You'd probably do better with the ones from higher 
elevations. Most of them come up in late fall after it starts raining after 
the dry summer (although the mountain ones I grow are later to appear), 
grow during winter and spring and bloom spring into summer before they go 
dormant. The mountain ones would have thunderstorms in summer, but the 
Mediterranean areas of California almost never get rain after it stops in 
spring until sometime in the fall. Coastal areas get some moisture from 
fog, but the soil is quite dry where the corms would be. The general advice 
is to keep them dry in summer as heat and water during dormancy is thought 
to cause problems. Some are probably more tolerant of summer water. There 
is a lot of information on the wiki, but here are my Topic of the Week 
I wrote about the last one every day and others joined in too, so I just 
listed the archives. Look for the posts under Brodiaea. There would be 
additional posts on Triteleia in the January 2003 archives and on 
Dichelostemma in the May 2003 archives.

Blooming in my garden at the moment are Triteleia crocea, Triteleia 
hyacinthina, a form of Triteleia ixioides, and Triteleia laxa. 
Dichelostemma capitatum is appearing throughout the garden. I think I saw 
one Brodiaea open today, but most of them bloom much later. But we've had 
weeks of dry weather and warm temperatures and I'm afraid the blooming 
period may get shortened but my garden has been a riot of amazing bright 
colored bulbs for quite awhile now as my South African bulbs have been 
putting on quite a show.

I hope this helps.

Mary Sue

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