Ookow-Dichlostemma TOW

Kenneth Hixson khixson@nu-world.com
Thu, 29 May 2003 21:05:47 PDT
Dear All-Ookow, Dichlostemma pulchella
	I've been interested in this name for many years, but so far
have not really found much.  What little there is, is in:
	"Wildflowers of the Pacific Coast", by Leslie Haskin, the copy 
I have was re-published in 1959, of a book originally published in 1934.  
Haskin was a flower lover who lived in Brownsville, Oregon.
On pages 7 and 8, Haskin writes:
	Ookow, Field Brodia, Hookera  (Brodia) pulchella Salisb.  
	"The plant's name is of Indian origin, and its starchy bulbs
were among the many known and consumed for food by the natives of the
Pacific Coast."
	He also comments on the length and long lasting quality of the 
cut flower stems, suggesting it be used by florists.  "After picking, the 
flowers, if placed in water, will remain fresh for several weeks."
	Not sure if this is a reflection of the pioneers' need to use local
plants, or of the fact that the book was being written during the 
great depression that started in 1929.  Certainly it wouldn't be politically
correct to suggest such a thing today.
	Other books on hand are even less helpful, and I would be interested
in the proper pronunciation-one of my nieces once laughed at me for
giving it the ookow name as well as the scientific name.
	It is native in the pasture here, and for years I wondered how
it managed to spread-it doesn't set seed every year.  The last couple 
years it has, the first time in nearly twenty years I've noticed seeds 
on it.  I wonder what pollenates it?  Flower color seems to vary a
little-this spring was wetter than usual, and the Dichlostemma is a soft
blue.  Other years it is a stronger blue, with a violet tinge.  Most years
there are one or two that almost are "pink" -actually a diluted violet color.
So far the "pink" color hasn't been consistant, and I haven't managed to 
select one.  I've never seen a white one, but surely this color exists
somewhere.  With its' tall, bare stem, it really looks better growing up 
through something else-which needs to stand a dry summer. Unlike Mary Sue's, 
here it is barely opening, but there are a couple stems of Tritelia
open--the white that is the common form here(although usually with a blue
also a couple stems of Bloomeria crocea-which is only about 6" high right
but may tower to about 18" later.  Tritelia hyacinthina normally starts
a week or more before the Dichlostemma here.  I notice Telos lists one form of
T. h. as being scented, so will have to check mine-never noticed anything,
there is enough I should have.

	Incidentally, in more than twenty years, the Bloomeria has survived +5F 
at least once, and I see no reason to believe it is not entirely hardy here.  
I will admit that it rarely stays at +5F for more than an hour or two, so the 
cold probably doesn't penetrate the ground.  The +15F usually given may be
inaccurate, simply reflecting the coldest it has gotten in its native range
in California.  This isn't really weedy here, but I now collect the seed
heads to prevent more seedlings.  Not sure how long seed is viable, but think
it is good for several years.  
		Dichlostemma idae-maia, only one bulb, has been engulfed by a patch
of Alstroemeria psittacina, and may not come up this year.  If it
does(did?), it
will need to have the Alstroemeria pulled up around it, when I can distinguish
which is which.  This Dichlostemma also needs a plant around its' bare
stem, but
the Alstroemeria is just too agressive.

Ken western Oregon Z7

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