Acis valentina and fall-blooming Scilla

Jane McGary
Sun, 18 Aug 2013 12:42:29 PDT
To add to the early fall (in this case, not late summer) bloomers 
being discussed, this morning I photographed a nice clump of Acis 
valentina (formerly Leucojum valentinum, and perhaps eventually to be 
placed in Galanthus) and added the photos to the wiki under that 
entry. These flowers look a little different than the earlier photos 
from John Lonsdale, probably because his opened wide in response to 
higher heat, and mine, pictured in the morning, are more bell-shaped. 
In both you can see the distinctive "noses" at the tips of the segments.

These plants got into the garden because the label on their pot was 
lost during my recent move. I'm glad they did, though whether they'll 
survive a colder than average winter remains to be seen. Those in the 
garden, growing in well-watered, rich soil, are more robust than 
those in the bulb house, where they receive just a little summer 
water. The glaucous stems are about 10 inches/25 cm tall, and appear 
before any leaf growth. I recommend this plant of the western 
Mediterranean for temperate gardens. Unlike Acis autumnalis (a bit of 
a weed in gardens here), it hasn't shown a tendency to self-sow widely.

Also appearing today are the first flowers of Prospero autumnalis 
(formerly Scilla autumnalis) in the rock garden, and Scilla 
scilloides (syn. Scilla japonica, in a group for which the genus name 
Barnardia has been proposed) in an island bed, popping up through the 
foliage of a prostrate-growing shrubby penstemon. The former self-sows readily.

Fall-flowering Acis and Prospero autumnalis as well ripen their seed 
very rapidly, and seedlings mature rapidly too. Most of my Prospero 
autumnalis plants grew from seed I collected in the Peloponnese from 
a colony that was still flowering in roadside gravel. This contrasts 
with fall-blooming Crocus and Colchicum species whose seed doesn't 
ripen until spring.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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