germination of South African Romulea?

Mary Sue Ittner
Fri, 05 Mar 2010 08:08:46 PST
Dear James,

Oh my goodness. I thought I could give this a quick look and had no 
idea how many pots of Romulea I had started since 1996 so looking 
through my data base took a long time. I have started over 100. 
Almost all of them came up (100 out of 112), whether it was my seed, 
commercial seed, seed from a friend or seed exchange seed but that 
doesn't really tell the whole story since some things germinated 
really well and some things germinated very poorly. Some things were 
gone within a year even though I had germination the first year. One 
year when I had a lot of seed of one of my favorite species I started 
half of it in September and half of it in December and had much 
superior results in September. Some of those things that germinated 
poorly I tried again to try to increase my stock when I had seed of 
my own. Sometimes I had much better luck and sometimes poor 
germination. Romulea hantamensis I tried 3 times and stratified, but 
none ever came up. There was a gorgeous apricot non named species 
from Silverhill Seeds and Namaqualand that germinated poorly the 
first time, but when it bloomed I saved seed of my own and had no 
luck with it and I have now lost all of it. No doubt a desert species 
wasn't happy living in a place with a lot of rain in winter even if I 
sheltered it from the worst of the rain.

Seed exchange seed is the most likely to be misnamed. Of seed from 
IBS, NARGS, SIGMA, Scottish Rock Garden, Cal Hort 14 of 20 were not 
what they were supposed to be. It appears that a lot of people never 
bother to check the identity of their plants. So in that sense if you 
really want to get what you ordered it is safest to buy from a 
commercial source like Silverhill or get seed from someone you trust. 
Silverhill seed isn't always correctly named either (they buy from 
others they trust who occasionally provide misnamed seed and 
sometimes when they are collecting from an area they can't tell the 
species as it would be impossible a lot of years to visit when in 
bloom and when in seed so may go on past records), but you will at 
least get the country correct and have a much better percentage of accuracy.

Mary Sue

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