Oxalis questions etc

Robin Attrill Robin@rpattrill.freeserve.co.uk
Wed, 02 Oct 2002 11:20:22 PDT
Mary Sue et al,

I have myself wondered about the origin of O bowiei. Whilst it does
superficially resemble certain new world taxa I have never seen any evidence
that the S African provenance is not correct. It is regarded as native there
in the Salter monograph (which only covers S African taxa), as is another
'new world lookalike', O semiloba, a summer rainfall taxon. I have not been
able to trace the origin of the O bowiei material in cultivation in the UK
but it resembles the image that you have posted, and is illustrated in Rix
and Phillips Conservatory and Indoor Plants vol 1 p188-189.

For a survey of all the worlds Oxalis see Geraniales Species Checklist
Series, vol 5 Oxalis ISBN 1-899742-43-3.  This is not illustrated but
contains much useful information.  It is in print.  The Salter monograph of
the S African taxa is long out of print, but a facsimile was published a few
years ago by Chuck Everson of Rainbow Gardens Bookshop in the US.

Diana is quite correct to state that transfer between hemispheres is
straightforward, certainly easier than irdis etc, the plants readily
'sorting themselves out' in 12 to 18 months.

In a recent post Lauw mentioned that he has O palmifrons in flower. This
taxon is notoriously shy flowering in the UK, and any advice as to how to
encourage flowering would be welcomed!

Regarding seeds, clones are generally self sterile as previously stated. The
abundance of daughter offsets in many taxa effectively deals with
propagation requirements. Also, in many species, the viability of fertile
seed is of very limited duration. As far as hybrids are concerned, as
previously stated a number of the S American 'alpines' have been developed
into new commercial entities. Hybridisation has been noted in S African
taxa, see Salter pp 21-22,  but is rare in nature.  From a personal
viewpoint, I am rather glad that there has been no substantial artificial
hybridisation work on the S African plants, as, given the abundance and
diversity of the species therefrom, it would probably add little value
horticulturally and confuse the already difficult taxonomic situation.



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