Fw: [pbs] Veratrum + rabbits

Pacific Rim paige@hillkeep.ca
Wed, 09 Jun 2004 19:12:55 PDT
We have a speciment of Veratrum viride, grown from seed, facing southwest
and placed at the foot of an XL boulder which directs water to it, keeping
it as moist as it might be in the wild on a wet slope.  Every year it gets
taller -- almost 5'  today -- but it has never bloomed.  I have seen V.
viride blooming at shorter heights at montane altitudes in deeper shade
along dappled seeps, but Jane's mention of 10 years gives me hope.

This is one of the few more or less liliaceous plants not yet sampled by a
non-native rabbit dwelling insouciant inside our rabbit fence. I hope he is
portly but I fear she is pregnant.

Paige Woodward

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jane McGary" <janemcgary@earthlink.net>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Veratrum

> Like Jim McKenney, I'm a little surprised at the absence of Veratrum from
> most gardens, but I think it can be explained by the fact that these are
> large-scale plants that go dormant in midsummer, leaving a big gap.
> However, this can also be said of Oriental poppies, which we see
> everywhere. Also, they are very toxic, and people who read this are always
> afraid their children or pets will eat the plants. I can't vouch for the
> discrimination of children, but my pets have never poisoned themselves on
> plant, and one often sees Veratrum growing in pastures, where the cattle,
> horses, etc., do not touch it.
> There are two species native to my area, V. californicum at lower
> elevations and V. viride at high elevations. V. calif. has cream-colored
> flowers and is a very large plant; V. vir. has green flowers and is a bit
> shorter, though still stately.
> I have V. calif. in the garden, having collected the seeds from a nearby
> roadside and direct-sown them in rich woodland soil in an area that's
> irrigated in summer (they are moisture-lovers). As I recall, they took
> almost ten years to flower from seed, but now bloom every year. The scape
> can reach 7 feet (>2 m). The rhizome (not a true bulb) is huge, with thick
> feeder roots below it, and makes some offsets, gradually spreading into a
> colony. Digging one is quite a task. That is probably another reason they
> are seldom seen in gardens: the mature rhizome is so large that it
> be easy to manage in a nursery container.
> These are excellent foliage plants if you have a deep border with
> in front to fill in as the veratrums wither, such as hostas and deciduous
> ferns. Mine are behind a planting of the native Disporum smithii. They
> well in sun or shade but flower best in sun.
> Jane McGary
> Northwestern Oregon. USA
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