difference between C. corsicus from C. imperati 'de Jagar'?

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Mon, 08 Mar 2010 10:55:03 PST
Rimmer asked about the difference between Crocus imperati ‘de Jager’ (note
the spelling of the name and see below for another comment on the name) and
Crocus corsicus. 


It’s simple, Rimmer. Crocus corsicus has 2N=18, Crocus imperati has 2N=26!


OK, that was a joke. 


Before I get into trying to explain the differences I know, note that C.
imperati de Jager is almost certainly a clone and thus varies little,
whereas C. corsicus is a sexually reproducing wild crocus, a species, and as
such shows variation. One consequence of that is that it is relatively easy
to describe or recognize C. imperati de Jager, but much less easy to define
or recognize C. corsicus. Also, as crocuses go, these two species are
closely related and share many characteristics. 


There are two ways in which these are relatively distinct: for one, as I
know them the flower of C. imperati ‘de Jager’ is larger than that of C.
corsicus. If one of the two blossoms you have is noticeably larger than the
other, it’s probably C. imperati ‘de Jager’. The other difference is the
time of bloom:  C. imperati ‘de Jager’ is a winter blooming form (here
typically in early January if the weather allows; this year the weather
definitely did not allow!) whereas C. corsicus blooms much later. 


Can you send some pictures? 


It’s worth noting that the old firm of Peter de Jager listed this variety
(at least in the fall 1966 catalog)  as ‘DE JAGERS VAR’ (sic).  Also, I have
long believed that this cultivar ‘de Jager’ is the modern incarnation of the
plant Bowles knew as monophyllus. Can anyone confirm this? This cultivar  is
deliciously scented (probably because it is a form or hybrid of what was
once called C. suaveolens, a species noted for its fragrance; Mathew made C.
suaveolens a form of C. imperati, thus the continued use of the name C.
imperati for this plant). 


Jim McKenney


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