Another Mystery Plant

John Bryan
Wed, 16 Apr 2003 12:16:14 PDT
Dear Mary Sue:

Scilla peruviana has a basal rosette of leaves, to 1.5 inches wide, 12
in. long . Lower pedicels 1.5 in. long, upper ones much shorter, when in
seed pedicels double their length, flowering stems 12 in, elongate
during the flowering period. It looks to me as if this is not a mature
flowerhead as they can contain up to 100 in a dense raceme. As you know
this comes from Portugal, Spain and Italy, can be almost evergreen. Hope
this helps, cheers, John E. Bryan 

Mary Sue Ittner wrote:
> 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
> leaves.
> 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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