Brodiaea, Calochortus, and Triteleia

Sun, 10 Nov 2002 18:44:40 PST
I've been out of town for a few days, for a short trip to "the Big City"
(Portland). How nice it was to come back and find so many references to Jim
Robinett ! One of his few regrets in life was starting so late with
horticulture he didn't have time enough to do a lot of what he wanted to do.
It's very gratifying to see that, nevertheless, his work is remembered.

To Jim Shields - it is indeed Triteleia bridgesii (not Brodiaea). The DNA
studies recently done by Chris Pires at Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison suggest
strongly that while (as has been assumed by botanists for years) Brodiaea
and Dichelostemma are closely related, Triteleia is considerably more
distant, though still a "cousin." If you collect and grow on the seeds your
Triteleias set, you may find some hybrids among them, which might produce
interesting flowers. T. laxa routinely hybridizes with T. hyacinthina in the
lower norther Sierra foothills. Hybrids between B. californica and B. purdyi
are less likely.

Regarding the various factors that impact bulb growth in different places, I
think all the things mentioned enter the equation. Obviously it's important
to know what are the moisture preferences of any given species, as well as
sun -vs- shade, cool -vs- heat, pH, quality of water, and the like. Jim was
fortunate enough to be growing his bulbs on local rainfall (about 30-35
inches a year where we were, almost all between October and April), and
where necessary, supplemented with our own well water, from a well that was
considerably deeper than any of our neighbors. It may thus have been less
polluted than the water available to many people, especially in the Northern
Hemisphere. I am aware of a few growers who are working seriously with
microrhiza (those little critters that inhabit the soil), and I'm impressed
with what I've heard about the results they are achieving.

I'll finish this in a second e-mail, as I understanding some members have
trouble receiving long e-mails. ---------------- Georgie Robinett

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