Tecophilaea Cyanocrocus

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Sun, 04 Sep 2011 16:09:22 PDT
On 4 Sep 2011, at 13:29, Alberto Castillo wrote:

> > Hi Alberto, I cant imagine how anyone could justify taking something so
> > beautiful from its native environment, unless it was its last chance of
> > survival. What an earth were those Netherlanders thinking..... I have never
> > seen these little sapphires before & i was wondering if any sustainable
> > population survived in the wild, once the original population was removed ?
> Steve, not even justifiable if it were THE DUTCH'S last chance of survival.
> The whole population was plundered and it became extinct in the wild.
> Amazingly another population was found in recent years higher in the
> mountains but the location is locked under seven keys. I wonder why. For
> those interested in the subject, in more recent times, countless millions of
> Cyclamens, Galanthus and Sternbergia were dug in Turkey to be taken to
> Holland and whence sold to the four corners of Europe until an investigation
> by Fauna and Flora Preservation Society unveiled this in 1989. The irony is
> that the survival rate of those wild plants was very low. They were bought
> from the poor peasants in bulk for cents.

Carl Purdy's collectors are notorious for having effectively eradicating 
various Californian bulb species from many of their sites. I believe it was 
Wayne Roderick who pointed this out in an article in "Pacific Horticulture", 
leading to a nasty public dispute with Purdy's family.

To compound this splendid example of environmental devastation in pursuit of 
filthy lucre, many of Purdy's bulbs were distributed as premiums in boxes of 
breakfast cereal. It takes little imagination to envision what the survival 
rate was.

The Dutch bulb trade has long been noted for its utter lack of ethics, and 
plundering of wild bulbs is not the only sin. The horticultural literature is 
sprinkled with complaints about mislabelled bulbs from Holland, a problem that 
continues to this day. I've noted that where, crocuses are concerned, one can 
sometimes detect the imposters in the dry state because their tunics are of the 
wrong kind. But I have noted that the substitutions are evidently deliberate, 
not due to customers mixing up loose bulbs in garden centres. If you buy a 
crocus that is blue or purple, you will get a crocus of about the right color, 
but it may be C. tommasinianus if there was a crop failure or demand has 
outstripped supply.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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