Triteleia--PBS Tow

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 06 Jan 2003 13:31:17 PST
Dear All,

Thanks to the people who have posted about this genus. I hope more of you who grow it will share which ones and how you grow them (containers or ground.) Given where they are found there must be species that would be able to take the cold. Whether they could survive with a humid wet summer is another matter, but I suspect some of them would be a lot more adaptable than Calochortus. Triteleia laxa I planted in Stockton in a ground cover that I watered regularly, but less than a lawn. Even though my soil there was clay this one came back every year and with more and more blooms so that it was quite a sight to see in bloom.

Perhaps John has solved the summer water problem by planting his in sand beds. Being in wet sand when dormant would be much less likely to be a problem I would think than other kinds of soil. I am interested in his success since I have found some of the ones I planted directly in the ground did better than when I planted them in a raised bed that was very sandy. Many of them grow in very wet habitats and sometimes in clay and it is possible since I never watered that raised bed that they were too dry for some of them to perform well. Triteleia peduncularis is an example. Some years when we have a lot of rain it blooms really well and other years it just seems to produce extra corms, not flowers. It dwindled in that bed and a few others disappeared whereas in pots where I was caring for them more carefully they have done really well.

I would like to echo Diana's statements that the different forms can be really different so that it can be quite delightful to grow them from wild collected seed and get different periods of bloom and size.

I was pleased a number of weeks ago when Georgie commented on Triteleia ixioides. I grow quite a few of these species and did not find it at all easy to break them into subspecies when I was working on my key. I really was ready to pull my hair out. Georgie said, "The more Jim and I saw, the more we questioned whether it was possible to "draw a line" between, or among, the various T. ixioides we found. I would venture a guess that about half of what we saw could be classified as "intergrades" between the supposed vars."

One of my most favorite Triteleias was grown from seed from Jim and Georgie as "Triteleia ixioides ssp. scabra." It is a tall bright yellow form that starts blooming in February or March and the same pot finishes blooming in May or June. Not too bad for time of bloom. I was thrilled when Jim and Georgie visited a number of years ago and Jim's jaw dropped when he saw it and he said, "What is that?!!" Just one of those advantages of growing from seed.

I still have growing descendants of Triteleia ixioides ssp. anilina that I purchased from the Robinetts. There have been no offsets to speak of and I have had poor luck with seed which is unusual since as John says Triteleia seed usually germinates in mass. Probably they need stratification. I find it very interesting that this one doesn't come up until February usually. It's as if it still thinks it is under snow, but it still comes back and blooms every year even though it is exposed to all my rain.

I too like Triteleia bridgesii. It is one of my favorites too, but another one I love is T. lilacina (purchased from Telos.) It has never increased at all so I now have some seedlings going from Ron Ratko and my saved seed. It is just gorgeous with its shiny inside.

Although I love the unexpected large Triteleia laxa that doesn't offset much I talked about earlier, I am also fond of the short ones that are native to where I live and a nice dark blue color. I have seen them in bloom late in summer when the flush of blooming flowers is gone, especially in a wet year. There are never huge clumps and I don't think it offsets much. Hopefully mine from seed I collected while out hiking will bloom this year.

Triteleia hyacinthina is also one that blooms a very long time. I grow two. One offsets like mad and the other does not. Both are coming back in the ground. I find it I move a blooming pot to a part shade area they bloom a longer time than in the direct sun.

I was happy to get seed from the BX of Triteleia clementina which is germinating nicely and have my fingers crossed I may be lucky with the NARGS seed exchange of seed Jane donated of T. lemmonae that I didn't think was in cultivation until Rob Hamilton <> said he was growing it (and obviously Jane too.)

I have a number of other species coming back from seed I have started that haven't bloomed. The other two I grow that seem realiable are T. montanum (seed was supposed to be T. crocea, but it keys out to the other) and T. hendersonii. The latter has a particularly beautiful flower, but I never have many of them blooming although I have more each year. So I'd be interested in hearing guidelines for success in growing this one.

Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list