Triteleia and Brodiaea.

Jane McGary
Fri, 24 Dec 2004 10:43:03 PST
Jan van den Berg asked,

>I am trying to make a collection of all Triteleia.
>Who can help me with T. Hendersoni and other rare varieties?

The best sources are:
Telos Rare Bulbs (bulbs only)

Ron Ratko
Northwest Native Seeds (seeds only)

I grow all the Triteleia species except the rare island species T. 
clementina and T. guadalupensis, and the poorly described T. lugens. I 
usually have bulbs of some species and forms for sale in summer.

If Jan is planning to hybridize triteleias, I suggest that he get hold of 
the form of T. laxa informally known as 'Sierra Giant' or 'Mariposa Giant'. 
It is little known overseas, but its characteristic of very large size 
would be useful especially for cutflowers. This is not a clone, but a local 
variant growing especially in Mariposa County, California, and around the 
El Portal entrance to Yosemite National Park. When I first happened on it, 
I had no idea I was looking at T. laxa! It's about 3 times the size of the 
common T. laxa of lower-elevation fields, and has pale lavender instead of 
deep violet flowers. It grows in light woodland and I think in sites that 
have a little extra moisture in spring.

Triteleias are very easy to grow from seed, flowering in the third year 
from sowing. Some species increase fast vegetatively, but others are slow. 
Most of them flower late in the bulb season, in late spring to early 
summer. They're best planted among leafier plants for support. The 
individual flowers tend to open in succession over a long period.

Two commercial clones are available in the mass market: T. ixioides 
'Starlight' and T. laxa 'Queen Fabiola'. The Robinett selection T. ixioides 
'High Sierra' is brighter yellow than 'Starlight' but has fewer flowers in 
the inflorescence. The Robinett selection 'Humboldt Star' has larger 
flowers than 'Queen Fabiola', also deep violet, but doesn't increase as 
fast as the latter, at least for me.

The species most likely to be widely adaptable (especially in colder 
regions) are T. grandiflora and T. hyacinthina, and both are quite showy 
when well grown. T. hyacinthina increases very fast by offsets and self-sows.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon

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