[AB_images] Calostemma

Jim Lykos annejim@acay.com.au
Wed, 19 Mar 2003 17:01:58 PST
  Dear Mary Sue and Pascal,

Yes  as Pascal mentioned the white  Calostemma's named in  Northern 
Queensland - Calostemma alba (R. Br. 1810)  and Calostemma 
scott-sellickiana  (Bailey 1905), have been designated as  Proiphys alba 
(R.Br.) Mabb.  Proiphys alba  is indeed grown as far south as Sydney 
without the need of  a glasshouse as long as it is kept dry during 
winter.  One of our ABA members grows it - I'll ask him to comment on 
its cultural needs.  It has  really lovely foliage and flowers.

The plant named Calostemma scott-sellickiana was found near  Coen which 
is  toward the top of  the Cape York Pennisular in the northern Tropics 
of Australia.
However, in examining  some volumes of Queensland Flora's,  I did come 
across some interesting facts about  Calostemma luteum which is found in 
the  southern, central  and south western districts of Queensland.  Very 
occasionally, a pure white form  of Calostemma is found - moreover  
these are usually not growing with  the populations of  C. luteum?   The 
author couldnt conclude on their status  but thought a rarer  red & red 
brown form which also doesnt flower with C. luteum may be due to changes 
to C. luteum colour when grown in  garden soils?
Calostemma luteum in QLD  is found in the wild in  a range of yellow 
shades. "Plants in the field have their bulbs deep in the soil and are 
not easy to obtain except by a lot of digging...........The species 
grows in flat country which is subject to flooding and may even be 
submerged for various periods after rain.  Soils are mainly deep 
alluvial of heavy  texture and very moisture retentive. Many of the 
natural habitats have been associated with the old flood plains of 
streams and are now being used for grain growing.  The plants usually 
form colonys of varying extent but there are mainly dense populations 
open to sunlight or in very open forest in short grasses. The plants die 
back and remain dormant during the cool dry months of the year and 
quickly come into flower with the onset of summer rain."  The quote is 
from Native Plants of Queensland Vol 1 by Keith Williams 1979.
Most of the southern districts of Queensland drain into the Darling 
River basin, which continues toward the centre of Australia before 
turning south into the Murray river basin which continues through 
western NSW and then into South Australia. Further west the flood plains 
can also travel into the Eyre and Torrens lake regions.  The periodic 
summer floods of inland QLD and NSW  can hence distribute  the  seed  of 
 Calostemma over approx 2,000  kilometres  of flood plains into South 
Australia.  These are  also the same distribution zones for  Crinum 
flaccidum, which is often   in flower  at the same time as Calostemma 
By contrast C.purpureum is said to be mainly found  on  rocky ridges and 
close to streams in woodland in NSW, and South Australia.  This 
 information only reinforces  the need  for field and genetic studies to 
determine  to what extent Calostemma has evolved into separate  species.


Jim Lykos
Blue Mountains Sydney Australia  Zone 9/10

Mary Sue Ittner wrote:

>Dear All,
>After getting Jim's note I thought I should rewrite what I wrote on the 
>Wiki about Calostemma since there seems to be a question about whether the 
>two species in question should be merged. To add a new wrinkle I found in 
>my Encyclopedia of Australian Plants another species mentioned, Calostemma 
>scott-sellickiana. This one is white, blooms Nov-Feb, is from Queensland 
>and the Northern Territories and is described as attractive, very hardy and 
>drought resistant and useful for warm inland or tropical areas. It doesn't 
>like cold wet soils and heated glasshouse is needed for growing in southern 
>Australia. Anyone know anything about it?
>Here is my revised Wiki page:
>I hope I have rewritten it to cover the possibilities.
>Mary Sue
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