Another Mystery Plant

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 16 Apr 2003 11:15:28 PDT
Dear All,

A number of years ago Jim Robinett asked me to collect bulbs that he could 
no longer grow and find another home for them. With some help from others I 
managed to distribute these treasures and kept some of them. He had not 
been able to care for all of them as he would have liked because of health 
problems and tags had been lost and I have over the years slowly been 
figuring some of them out that either did not have a tag or were misidentified.

One pot was labeled Lachenalia unifolia. I kept some and shared others with 
the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. I very soon knew this one was wrong. 
For one thing there were lots of leaves, not one and they didn't look 
exactly like Lachenalia leaves. Secondly it seemed to have perennial roots. 
I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, but did let them go dormant 
assuming it was some kind of South African winter rainfall plant, but 
because of the perennial roots occasionally gave the pot some summer water. 
Also I kept giving them bigger pots as they seemed to need more room, but 
there were no blooms. I planted a few out in a raised bed dry in summer and 
they came back but did not get bigger. The ones in containers that got 
better soil and occasional summer water and fertilizer had larger and more 

This winter while attending a talk at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens 
in late January and looking through the bulb collection I saw a blooming 
stalk starting. And it looked like the beginning of a Scilla peruviana 
bloom to me so I suspected it was going to be a Scilla of some kind. I am 
posting a picture on the wiki Mystery page supplied me by the Plant 
Recorder at the gardens. Lily said she thought it looked different from the 
Scilla peruviana in the Gardens that are growing in the ground.

What does everyone think? Should we rename this Scilla peruviana or could 
it be something else? What should we be looking for in figuring it out?…

Thanks for the help.

Mary Sue

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