Jane McGary
Fri, 30 May 2003 21:10:45 PDT
Mary Sue wrote, >As for the shade from weeds preventing blooms I have 
another story to tell. In Southern California there is a place celebrated 
for its wild flower displays. For years they struggled with weeds and how 
to get rid of them. Finally one year they watered really well to get the 
weed seed to germinate and then covered the area with black plastic to kill 
the emerging plants. When they removed the cover so they could plant seed 
of what they wanted, they found a whole field of Dichelostemma coming up. 
It was there, but they didn't know it. So some of you may not have lost 
your corms. Fire works in the same way for our natives and those in other 
Mediterranean climates. It clears out the competition for one thing.

I saw the same thing happen with Trillium ovatum when I had a tractor guy 
cut a road into my woods so I could haul out some rocks: It came up where 
it had been covered by thimbleberry and blackberry. Friends who moved into 
a house in Portland stripped a hillside of its English ivy groundcover and 
scores of trilliums came up that had been dormant for years.

Many western American plants can survive vegetatively for years without 
flowering until they get out into the sun where the pollinators are likely 
to find them and they get warmth, and their seeds can find a place to grow. 
Both Pacific Coast (Californicae) irises and our local Iris tenuis 
(Cristatae) behave like this. Thus, these are sometimes misdescribed as 
"shade plants." That's why I prefer the term "shade-tolerant" to 
"shade-loving" -- though the latter does truly apply to some plants.

Regarding Dichelostemma multiflorum, I have quite a lot of it here, mostly 
small bulbs just blooming for the first time this year.

I always supposed "ookow" rhymed with "blue cow," given the typical way 
English speakers transcribed Native American words.

Mary Sue mentioned Triteleia lilacina. My bulbs of it from Telos are 
flowering and I was surprised that one of them has pronounced dark purple 
stripes, so I wrote to Diana Chapman, and she told me there is a lot of 
variation in the wild populations. This fact is not reflected in the Jepson 
Manual's treatment.

Regarding Triteleia ixioides, I think the commercial form 'Starlight', 
which is quite good, is T. ixioides ssp. scabra. Another form of this 
subspecies was distributed by the Robinetts as 'High Sierra Form'; it has a 
smaller inflorescence, but the color is much more appealing, being a good 
bright yellow rather than the straw-yellow or "maize" color of 'Starlight'. 
The other one I grow is T. ixioides ssp. anilina, which increases very 
slowly for me; it has blue anthers, hence the name, and smaller florets.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon

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