Recent wiki additions--Veratrum, Lachenalia, Nothoscordum

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 17 Apr 2004 19:29:54 PDT
Dear All,

My theme for today are three plants that have had negative press.

I recently found my husband had taken a picture of our rare fringed corn 
lily, Veratrum fimbriatum. I've been admiring the leaves as they emerge 
lately on my hikes. They really are impressive. This plant flowers in late 
summer and at that time can be a bit scruffy after all kinds of insects 
have had a chance to eat it and without rain for months everything can be 
dusty. Still I was rather surprised to read that this species was 
unattractive in Bulbs of North America. I'm not sure I'd call it beautiful, 
but the flowers are very intricate and certainly interesting. Since it is 
one of the geophytes that grows where I live and rare, we consider it 
special although I'd never think to grow it since it gets so big and needs 
a very wet place which my garden isn't in summer. I asked all the people in 
my hiking group when we stopped to look at it this week where it has 
emerged in very wet sag ponds and the consensus was that the leaves were 
very attractive at least in the early months. I didn't have a camera with 
me so these were last year's pictures.…

Blooming recently for me was Lachenalia bachmanii. Graham Duncan describes 
it as not particularly attractive, but I like it. Some of the "must have" 
Lachenalias he lists don't always appeal to me. Obviously what looks good 
to one person may not to others.…

The third plant deserves its bad reputation as an invasive aggressive weed. 
It is Nothoscordum gracile. I saw it all over the Huntington Garden in 
Southern California where they will probably never get rid of it. After 
David Fenwick praised Tulbaghias I decided to grow some from seed and have 
gotten seed of three different species from NARGS seed exchanges that all 
turned out to be this pest instead. It is very disheartening. The latest 
was supposed to be Tulbaghia capensis which is brown to purple and green 
with an orange corona. You wouldn't think it could be confused with a white 
flower. But in my search to confirm my suspicion I found that pictures of 
Nothoscordum gracile are hard to find. The pictures on the web are not very 
good and the best one I could find, the one below, I think is of something 

There ought to be a section in generic bulb books that shows pictures of 
some of the ones to avoid or they should be pictured along with all the 
other bulbs so people could confirm that the one they have is not 
desirable. So before I toss this new batch as I have done the others in the 
past, I have added some photographs to the wiki. When it finally opens, the 
flowers are kind of attractive and nicely fragrant, but a lot of the time 
the flowers are closed. It certainly has been known by a lot of different 
names so I added all the synonyms on the wiki. Maybe I'll get a shot of the 
bulblets around the mother bulb if I find time as it and the soil goes in 
the trash.…

Mary Sue 

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