Bulb Depth - Droppers and Risers

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Fri, 11 Nov 2011 18:36:40 PST
Jim W. wrote: " Jim McK (I think) mentioned 'droppers' in discussing crocus. "
The droppers Jim McKenney referred to are those seen in tulips: I'm not sure how old the term is, but it's been used by generations of tulip growers. I've never seen a typical dropper in a crocus, but the stoloniferous/rhizomatous species such as C.nudiflorus are doing essentially the same thing, but more sideways than down.
John Grimshaw  and I had a chance to discuss those risers in Lycoris when he was in the greater Washington, D.C. area recently. He mentioned then that he had seen them in Galanthus. Perhaps John will be able to chime in and tell us more. 
 Jim McKenney
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From: James Waddick <jwaddick@kc.rr.com>
To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 1:25 PM
Subject: [pbs] Bulb Depth - Droppers and Risers

Dear Friends,

    The recent discussion on bulb depth reminded me a situation 
that I  was presented with earlier this year.

    First, we have had a good discussion of contractile roots, 
but this is not the situation here.

    Jim McK (I think) mentioned 'droppers' in discussing crocus. 
Just what is a dropper?  First what it look like. If some bulbs are 
planted too shallowly they will form something that looks like a 
stolon from the base of the corm and drop straight down or at an 
angle to develop a new bulb or corm at a lower depth. The structure 
of the dropper itself isn't much discussed, but I assume it is some 
extension of the basal plate and this extension responds to gravity 
and 'drops' until an optimum depth occurs.
    Over the years of PBS we have had a number of droppers mentioned.

    This fall I was sent pix of what appeared to be "risers"  in 
Lycoris radiata. It appeared that the bulb was planted much too deep 
and it had made a hefty stalk straight up from the basal plate, 
through the center of the bulb , then up about 5 inches to form an 
'identical bulb at a higher level. Both upper and lower bulbs had a 
similar size and shape, roots and foliage just emerging.

    I was asked if this was a dropper or what was happening. 
Although it had some of the features of a dropper, it didn't look 
right. In my experience a dropper will come from the side or bottom 
of the top bulb, go down and turn up to form a new bulb at a lower 
depth. This was two bulbs right on top of each other, there was no up 
turn of a dropper.

    I suspected that the original bulb was just planted way too 
deep since I knew that Lycoris prefer to grow very shallowly. I later 
learned that these bulbs were dug from a spot that had been altered 
by adding new soil and in fact were buried way too deep.

    This is the first time I had seen an actual 'riser'.

    Anyone else have experience with droppers or risers? 
    Best        Jim
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
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    Summer 100F +

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