What's in bloom

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sat, 28 Nov 2009 12:09:06 PST
Mary Sue wrote:
>Fall blooming Crocus continue to bring me happiness with one species
>following another. In bloom right now are Crocus niveus with its
>large white flowers, Crocus ochroleucus, Crocus longiflorus, and
>another purple one grown from seed that is supposed to be C.
>asumanie, but is a rich violet, when that species is described as
>almost white so is probably something else.

Crocus asumaniae is normally pale lavender-blue to white; I haven't 
ever seen a dark one. It hybridizes readily with C. cartwrightianus 
and I have some probable hybrids of the two, but none of them are 
dark all over. If Mary Sue's seeds were collected in the wild, C. 
speciosus grows in the same area as C. asumaniae and may have been 
mistaken for it in seed, though the two are very different in flower 
(C. asumaniae is a member of the Sativi (saffron) section and has the 
typical red-orange style of that group, while C. speciosus has a 
yellow to orange style). There are a number of purple crocuses that 
flower about this time: C. medius, C. longiflorus, various subspecies 
of C. serotinus, and the darker forms of C. oreocreticus come to 
mind. C. nudiflorus is usually earlier, at least here. I imagine C. 
asumaniae and C. oreocreticus could hybridize as they are in the same 
section, but chromosome numbers in Crocus are pretty surprising.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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