Philip Bolt
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 07:31:52 PDT
I've noticed comments on your site stating that the genus Cardiocrinum isn't monocarpic, leading to a number of esoteric discussions and digressions as to the meaning of the term.


Firstly, with one possible exception, all authorities state that the genus is monocarpic. This, in the UK, includes the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew and the Royal Horticultural Society which is good enough for most of us: not because they are British but because they are organisations with a world-wide  botanic authority.


It is not relevant that Cardiocrinum, (or Agave or any other plant), set offsets before dying: this is no more relevant than the plant setting seed. 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. 

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.


Another argument was that the flowering stem of other lilies dies at the end of the year. It certainly does, but the bulb doesn't.


'Monocarpic' simply means that the plant flowers and then dies. 


I mentioned a possible exception. There is a report from a reliable source that Cardiocrinum cordatum can survive after flowering. This is under investigation and anyone interested in this, (or any other aspect of the Genus), can look at the Cardiocrinum section of my website 


Philip Bolt

UK Plant Heritage®, Cardiocrinum National Collection holder.

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