Oxalis in IBSA newsletter

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Wed, 26 Oct 2011 07:45:05 PDT

I have mentioned before that I also belong to the Indigenous Bulb 
Association of South Africa. They publish a first rate annual 
bulletin and also have periodic email newsletters and bulb chats. 
They put on the recent Symposium and two previous ones we were lucky 
to attend. I am envious of their monthly meetings in Cape Town where 
they bring plants to show their members and also have a speaker.

I was interested in the report on the speaker for the last month 
since it was a talk on Oxalis. Many of us were greatly disappointed 
when Oxalis was not included in the Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs 
as this is such a large genus with many representatives in South 
Africa and not a lot of easily obtainable data about telling them 
apart. Graham Duncan includes a few of the species in his updated 
Grow Bulbs, but only a few.

 From the IBSA newsletter I am passing on this paragraph about the 
talk for all of you who are interested in Oxalis and not members of IBSA.

>Dr Kenneth Oberlander gave a very fascinating talk, covering the 
>diversity (greatest  in Southern Africa and South America) and 
>ecology of the not-very-well understood family of Oxalis, named for 
>the oxalates found in the plant, comprises the 7th largest genus of 
>the winter rainfall Cape Flora. Here most species are mostly 
>geophytic and widely distributed in habitats ranging from 
>richtersveld, fynbos, karroo, West Coast and the Peninsula. 109 / 
>270 taxa are on the Red Data list. They are poorly known as many 
>species flower early, before August, but also the genetic diversity 
>or triotyly gives rise to bewilderingly variable flower morphology, 
>where the 3 forms co-exist within a small radius in a 1:1:1 ratio. 
>This tantalising glimpse of one of the most adaptable of plants was 
>followed by descriptions of the major genera and pictures and tips 
>on recognising the commoner species.

Mary Sue 

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