Tigridia in the wet tropics

Dennis Szeszko dszeszko@gmail.com
Sun, 12 Jul 2009 21:44:24 PDT
Tigridia pavonia needs a dry winter rest to replicate the natural
conditions that it faces during the dry season in Mexico.  The genus
Tigridia in Mexico is adapted to grow during the 6 months of rains
(May-October) but remain dormant during the remaining 6 months
(November-April).  In general, the bulbs do not face harsh, freezing
conditions during their dormancy.  Perhaps some of the species that
grow at high altitude (3000+ meters) might face a few hours of frost
right before dawn but this is only for a few days per year.  Mexican
Tigridias will start into growth with the first sprinkles of rain.
This pattern of behavior includes T. pavonia, or at least the
varieties that are adapated to grow in Mexico.  It is my conjecture
that if you transplanted Mexican Tigridia pavonia bulbs to your South
American cloud forest that they would probably rot during the wet
winters. However, your variety of T. pavonia that grows in South
America is adapated to be more resistant to year-round moisture.  My
experience with Mexican Tigridias is that any significant source of
moisture in the pots during the "dry" season will almost assuredly rot
the bulbs.

The publication, "The genus Tigridia (Iridaceae) of Mexico and Central
America" by Elwood Molseed mentions something about hybridizing
between different species.  He did some experiments and says that it
is hit-and-miss, but I will have to recheck what he wrote and post it

I have access to T. augusta, but the bloom season passed already for
this year.  This morning I put pollen of a yellow T. pavonia variety
onto T. mexicana.  I will report if a seed capsule develops.

Mexican altiplano

PS - I recently photographed the cardinal-red flowers of T. mortonii
in the field.  These are the first photographs known of this species
that I "re-discovered" at the type locality 2 weeks ago.  It had not
been seen since 1934.  I will post them to the wiki shortly.

> Dear Tigridia lovers,
> I read an old post about the need for Tigridia to have a dry winter rest. While this may be true when winters are cold, the situation here in the South American Andes is quite different. Here, Tigridia pavonia is a cloud forest plant (1500+ m in elevation, 3000+ mm annual rainfall), growing all year round with no synchronized rest periods (though individual flowering stems die back, of course). It does very well here, self-seeding into lawns and other open areas.  Soil is not particularly well-drained. Bulbs always seem to be quite small, but plants are robust.
>  Tall bearded irises have the same behavior here. They never go dormant and they flower asynchronously. Hippeastrum do the same: asynchronous random flowering. Some of our native bulbs like Phaedranassa sp. have the same bahavior.
>  There is a mild "less rainy" season here in Nov-Dec, but these plants don't seem to go dormant then. Those months are still very wet here compared to most places on earth.
>   I am working on hybridizing these cloud forest Tigridias. Does anyone have experience crossing T vanhouttei or T augusta with T pavonia? Some past posts talked about experiments in that direction, but no results were mentioned. Anyone know where to get T augusta? Anybody have experience sending pollen through the mail?
> LJost
> South American cloud forest

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