Protected ovary, was Asphodelus acaulis

Jane McGary
Wed, 29 Feb 2012 11:45:22 PST
Alberto Castillo wrote
The same purpose, a protected ovary in

>Colchicum and relatives

I haven't seen Sternbergia actually bury the capsule the way 
Asphodelus acaulis does, but the scape does bend over and lay the 
capsule on the ground. Crocus and Colchicum capsules remain below the 
soil surface, or mostly so, until ready to dehisce (when the capsule 
releases the seeds). Then in Crocus, the capsule often pops above the 
surface very quickly (I wonder what the mechanism is?) to a couple of 
centimeters high in some species. Crocus seeds appear to be carried 
off by ants.

Another odd characteristic of some bulbs that must be an adaptation 
to avoid grazing animals is that some Fritillaria species keep the 
scape (flowering stem) almost horizontal until right before the 
flowers open; then it straightens up to where the bees will notice it 
more, I suppose. It remains erect while the seed ripens; the seeds 
are probably wind-dispersed.

Bulbs, you can see, are interesting even when not in flower.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list