Another Erythronium ID

Rodger Whitlock
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 09:37:14 PDT
On 10 Apr 2013, at 13:25, Gene Mirro wept copious tears, alas, that his 
erythoniums are showing signs of moral degeneracy.

The white one resembles E. californicum 'White Beauty', but its leaves have 
dark mottling like E. oregonum. 'White Beauty' - at least what I have under 
that name - has silver-mottled leaves like some of the leaves in your photo 
backgrounds. The tepal tips are quite rounded in 'White Beauty', whereas wild 
E. californicum has the usual Pacific coast pointed tepals. Yours impress me as 
being intermediate.

Another point in favor of this erythronium being a bastard child of 'White 
Beauty' is that it appears to be multiplying at the root. 'White Beauty' is 
well known for its vegetative multiplicativeness, unlike the wild forms of the 
west coast erythronia, which generally conform to the pattern one seed - one 
bulb - one plant, and do not multiply vegetatively. Lord only knows how many 
hours I've spent looking for clump-forming wild forms of Ee. revolutum and 
oregonum. Without success!

I'd say it's a hybrid with 'White Beauty' as one parent.

The pink one looks sort of hybridish too. Not only the pale color, but the very 
wide spreading flower are suspicious. Around here (southern Vancouver Island), 
E. revolutum is smaller in all its parts than the other common species, E. 
revolutum. There's really no telling what its parentage might be.

Just like the Pacific Coast irises, so the erythronium species of the region 
are, afaik, all interfertile, and when grown in close proximity in a garden, 
will hybridize freely. I suggest you assess these plants strictly on their 
merits as garden plants without reference to what species they may represent. 
If you like them, then keep them; if not, then follow Paige's advice and eat 
them for dinner.

If you really like your erythronia, bastards though they may be, contemplate 
the glory of propagating them commercially under the cultivar name 'Mirro', 
perhaps 'Mirro White' and 'Mirro Pink'. You will have endless amusement when 
people wonder why there is an erythronium cultivar apparently named after a 
manufacturer of aluminum kitchenware. There will also be amusing confusions 
with the name of the artist Miro.
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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