Some comments on Rhodophiala

Alberto Castillo
Mon, 31 Mar 2003 09:36:23 PST
Dear Den; Rob, Mary Sue et al:
                                                   Rr. chilense, araucana, 
phycelloides all belong to the group that spend a long dry winter in the 
wild, mostly under snow. I suspect the advena you are growing (providing it 
is the real advena) could have been collected from the Andes foothills or 
slopes populations in search of extra hardiness and not the lowland advena. 
In England it is common to see high altitude strains of species that are 
usually regarded as half hardy, (Nerine bowdenii, Schizostylis, Moraea 
spathulata, Kniphofias, Galtonia, Eucomis, Rhodohypoxis, and on and on). Do 
let it behave as a winter dormant species and see if the bulbs increase in 
size. Rob, that yours have remained evergreen is not bad and not uncommon at 
their early childhood. This is the period of their life when they take 
advantage of proper fertilizing the best.
                                                   Incidentally, all of you 
who are growing granatiflora keep them well. My adult bulbs (only 6) caught 
a virus and seed production declined sharply in a year and are of course 
doomed. Fortunately it is an easy plant under warm conditions (say suitable 
for a Cape bulb).
                                                    I don’t know what R. 
rosea is. Something an amateur baptized, probably.
                                                    As for Ravenna, when he 
publishes a species properly, it is valid. It is difficult to explain it in 
short. Imagine you learn of a new bulb species published by Peter Goldblatt, 
Brian Mathew or Alan meerow. Their reputation is such that no one would even 
dream of disputing its validity. Ravenna’s motivations are others and he 
publishes species with such a haste that you necessarily have to check and 
recheck (in our case, you have to go to the type location and see if the 
species is a good one!!) to reach a conclusion. You can not imagine how much 
it has slowed down the research in these bulb families.
                                                    And Mary Sue, I did not 
include all the species of Rhodophiala in my introduction as it would have 
made it too long. Only a fraction of the species are offered for sale as 
seed every year by the Archibalds, John Watson or Chiltern Seeds.
All the best for now

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