Fritillaria pontica

Jane McGary
Tue, 03 Nov 2009 13:56:42 PST
Mary Sue wrote
>one species that has bloomed more than one
>year from seed is F. pontica. I have two surviving versions, one from
>NARGS seed labeled ssp substipelata and another F. pontica from the
>BX and Rob Hamilton. ...First, Mark McDonough added pictures to the 
>wiki of some he purchased
>from Dutch growers that he thought were something else since the
>descriptions he looked up said this frit is green. His photos are here:
>One of my Brian Mathew books describe this species as often having a
>warm brownish suffusion, especially on the apex and margins of the
>segments. ... When I looked on Kew to see if they were accepting Fritillaria
>pontica ssp substipelata, I found that it was now considered
>Fritillaria theophrasti Kamari & Phitos, Biol. Gallo-Hellen.
>26(Suppl.): 70 (2000). That left me wondering what to consider my
>seed grown plants labeled as ssp. substipelata.

The plants Mark posted at that page are not F. pontica, as he 
suspected, but I can't tell exactly what they are from the little 
photos; they are unlikely to be F. olivieri, which is not frequently 
grown, but they could be a form of F. caucasica, which is common in 
the trade under several names. F. pontica's flowers are not pinched 
in at the margin like those shown, and as Mary Sue writes, they are 
basically soft green with a kind of yellowish-buff suffusion; they 
are large for the size of the plant. If I ever learn how to downsize 
photos now that my free photo editor has ceased to function (I was 
supposed to buy the "pay" version but my connection is too slow to 
download it), I will post photos of the real thing. As for subsp. 
substipelata, it is still offered under that name by the Archibalds, 
which is where I got it, and it is rather distinctive in flower, but 
apparently the name F. theophrasti is now preferred. I checked the 
AGS Fritillaria Group's 2008 seedlist just now and neither name is on 
it, so I can't verify it there.

Incidentally the photo I put on the Miscellaneous Frits page should 
be removed, because I have now identified it as F. tortifolia. All 
the Fritillaria species sold by Chen Yi, and also those once sold by 
Paul Christian and bought by him from China, can be expected to be 
misidentified. I don't know why F. camtschatcensis is on the 
Miscellaneous page, unless because it occurs in both Asia and North America.

It isn't surprising that F. pontica does well for Mary Sue on the 
rainy northern California coast, because it comes from the Pontus -- 
the Black Sea coast of Turkey -- which Brian Mathew says is probably 
the single area closest in climate to the temperate Pacific Coast. It 
is a good garden plant for me as well.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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