Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 12 Aug 2002 09:33:45 PDT
The 'Firecracker Flower' Dichelostemma is, as Marguerite notes, D.
ida-maia. The mass-market bulb catalogs are offering it now as well as one
called D. 'Pink Diamond'. 'Pink Diamond' is supposed to be D. x venustum
("Dichelostemma" is neuter, not feminine, by the way; "ida-maia" is a noun
from a proper name so doesn't undergo agreement with the genus epithet),
but the old D. x. venustum I've seen (ida-maia x congestum) are VERY
different. I think 'Pink Diamond' may be ida-maia x volubile -- it
certainly looks a great deal like D. volubile, the "snake brodiaea" --
though ida-maia itself is capable of twining on nearby shrubs, too.

These plants should be well adapted to Sue Haffner's California area. In
the wild, they experience extremely dry summers, but I've noticed that they
tend to grow where there is more vernal moisture than in surrounding areas.
They are very easy from seed and survive at least down to 15 degrees F
here, though not lower in my experience. Left to their own devices, the
corms sink themselves very deep; there is a lot of ida=maia down below the
wire rodent barrier under one of my old frames, and I can't get rid of it.
They are very attractive to hummingbirds, their natural pollinator, and
flower in early to mid summer.

Jane McGary
NW Oregon

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