diana chapman
Mon, 16 Jun 2003 13:05:32 PDT
Dear Mary Sue:

A couple of days ago I went looking for Brodiaea stellaris, and found a few
plants about 50 miles inland just starting to bloom - for me an exciting

I love Brodiaeas, with my favorite ones being B. californica, especially the
pink form, B. terrestris, a very short plant but with large flowers, and B.
minor - also small.  Unlike the Triteleias, most of the Brodiaeas I grow do
not make very many offsets, so seed has been the most practical method of
propagation for me. There are exceptions, of course, with B. elegans being
the one most likely to offset.  Even the small Brodiaeas grow from
substantial corms, and take three to four years to bloom from seed.  They
are wonderful garden plants, and can tolerate some summer moisture if
temperatures are not too high and drainage very good.  While verbal
descriptions make most of them sound very similar except for height, in
actuality they appear very different in color and form.

Telos Rare Bulbs

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Sue Ittner" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2003 12:13 PM
Subject: [pbs] Brodiaea--TOW

> Dear All,
> I am sorry to be a little late with this introduction for the topic of the
> week, but I had company this weekend. This topic finishes the discussion
> the three genera in the Brodiaea complex. We first talked about Triteleia,
> then Dichelostemma, and now Brodiaea. Most of the species of these three
> are native to California and some of the species are found farther north
> and south. I started wanting to know more about them a number of years ago
> when I was struggling with the keys in a number of my books and trying to
> figure out how to tell them apart. I thought if I did my own key perhaps I
> could finally understand them. That has helped and there are now some
> species that come really easily for me, but others are still a challenge.
> Since I tend to be really long winded as you all have noticed I have
> decided to take a page from Uli's book when a number of years ago he
> introduced Hippeastrum species on another forum for me. Instead of writing
> a very long introduction he wrote something shorter every day.
> So here is the first part:
> Brodiaea  is a genus with sixteen species including four with two
> subspecies each restricted to  western North America, ranging
> geographically from Vancouver, B.C. to Baja California. Brodiaea plants
> produced annually from a corm that also produces 2 to 15 adjacent offset
> cormlets in the axils of old leaf bases. Cormlets produce fleshy
> contractile roots that disperse the cormlets away from the parent. Once
> they are adult sized the production of contractile roots cease.  Leaves
> basal, generally 3-5, narrow and grassy, made more so by their inrolled
> margins. The flowers are upfacing, often richly colored and waxy. Flowers
> have six tepals that are united at the base in a bell- to funnel-shaped
> tube in two petal-like whorls with the inner whorl wider. The segments of
> the tube often have purple stripes. Flower color is blue, purple, pink, or
> white. Sterile stamens, known as staminodes, are often petal-like and
> lighter colored than the outer tepals and alternate with three, usually
> smaller fertile stamens and are distinctive in each species. Flowers of
> Brodiaea are self-incompatible being pollinated by many different
> pollinators (bee flies, butterflies, flower beetles, and sweat bees.)
> Brodiaea is differentiated from Dichelostemma by a flowering stem that is
> generally straight not curved or twisted, an umbel that is typically open,
> not dense, and the presence of three sterile stamens instead of
> appendages to the filaments that form a tube outside the anthers. Brodiaea
> is differentiated from Triteleia by having only three fertile stamens
> instead of 6. This genus has been considered to be a part of many
> families (Amaryllidaceae, Alliaceae, Liliaceae). Recent work is now
> it in a new family, Themidaceae, which includes other California genera
> (Androstephium, Bloomeria, Dichelostemma, Muilla, and Triteleia.)
> In later posts I will discuss how I grow them, species commonly in
> cultivation, other species and where they are from, and clues for telling
> them apart. In the meantime everyone else is free to chime in and I can
> prune my offerings if it has already been covered.
> Mary Sue
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