Jim McKenney
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 08:42:00 PDT

Philip, I'm largely if not entirely responsible for the assertion that Cardiocrinum are not monocarpic. And I stick to that point of view.
Your statement " Neither offsets nor seeds are part of the plant; they were previously produced by the plant as separate entities which may or may not be genetically identical to the parent plant " is simply not true with respect to offsets.
Seeds are typically (although not always)  the result of sexual reproduction.Offsets are the result of vegetative reproduction. There is nothing "separate" about them until they become separated (by causes natural or unnatural) from the original plant mass.  What eventually becomes an offset is initially a part of the "original plant". In the case of Cardiocrinum (and in fact all bulbs that I know), the sprout on the basal plate which produces a flowering stem dies after flowering. Other sprouts on the same basal plate however live on and keep the plant alive.
This discussion is complicated by the ambiguous way we use the word "plant" in everyday discussions. To the commercial  grower who raises millions of marketable entities from one original plant, each one of those marketable entities is a plant, a potential sale. In discussions of the sort we are having about Cardiocrinum, the 
You wrote:"Nor is it true, as some have stated, that the basal plate of a Cardiocrinum survives after  flowering: remove all the offsets and what is left will not grow again."
What you don't seem to realize is that the basal plate of the offsets is an outgrowth of the basal plate of the flowering sprout. Initially they form a single mass; ultimately they become separate because the older parts which supported the blooming sprout die (as does the blooming sprout itself). In other words, the offsets contain the surviving parts of the "original" basal plate. 
You might find this easier to understand if you think of the basal plate of bulbs as their perennial stem, a stem which is constantly growing and branching as the older parts die off and disappear.
I'm not aware of any bulb species which are truly monocarpic, although it does happen that individual bulbs do die after flowering. The term really makes no sense when used in describing the growth cycle of bulbs. 
An aside: I noticed a pot of germinating Cardiocrinum giganteum yunnanense seed in the cold frames yesterday.
Jim McKenney

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