Diane Whitehead
Mon, 21 Mar 2005 11:44:23 PST
Some erythroniums do well for me, and others don't, though I am going 
to keep trying. I am growing lots of seedlings from Ron Ratko.

The earliest, which has been blooming for a couple of weeks, is E. 
dens-canis, from Europe.  I had it in one spot and moved it years ago 
closer to a path since it is so short.  I have just noticed that it 
is blooming again in its original place as well.  I don't know 
whether it had dropped seeds there, or whether I left a wee piece of 
root that has now become big enough to flower.  This is such an easy 
plant that last year I bought a lot of different forms from Janis 
Ruksans.  They aren't going to bloom this first year, but the leaves 
are strong, and amply spotted.

We have four species growing within an hour's drive of my home.

Two are mountain species: the white montanum and the yellow 
grandiflorum.  The grandiflorum occurs quite low on a south-facing 
slope in moss growing on bedrock.  It is dwarf, but I suspect that is 
because of having only a few centimetres of soil to grow in. I should 
grow some seeds of it to see if that is the case.  I have collected 
seeds, but sent all of them to seed exchanges.

Two grow at low elevations.  White oregonum is common and grows 
throughout woods, along sidewalks in suburbs, and in lawns as long as 
people don't cut the grass too early. (One wonderful lawn with a few 
thousand erythroniums was admired for about 50 years, but then new 
owners moved in and kept their lawn trimmed.  Not a single 
erythronium is left.)

I planted a few oregonum about 35 years ago, one at the base of each 
tree I was planting. For a few years I would gather the seeds and 
toss them a short distance. I have a pretty display each April. I 
would have had hundreds of plants if I had continued to do that 
instead of donating them to seed exchanges.

The other low elevation species is pink revolutum which grows closer 
to the two mountain ones, and not close to Victoria.  It grows along 
streams.  About 30 years ago, I dug one and planted it away from my 
oregonums.  It has seeded a lot, and the seedlings range from pink to 
white.  I guess the original one I collected was a natural hybrid, as 
I took it from a roadside where oregonum was growing up in the woods 
and revolutum was growing across the road, down along a stream.

In 1989 I bought bulbs of violet with a dark eye hendersonii and 
purdyi (really citrinum?) from Edgar Kline in Oregon.  They grow in 
pinewoods in the Siskiyous, so I planted them under pine trees in an 
unwatered part of my yard. I think they flowered once.  Since then, 
there have been wan single leaves that emerge briefly.  I just went 
out to look, and there is a neat hole through the thick pine needles 
where each leaf had been just last week.  Squirrels or rats, I guess.

I have tried albidum and americanum from the Eastern U.S several 
times, but they die out quickly.  I hope to grow umbilicatum 
successfully, (inspired by Molly Grothaus's photo in Bulbs of North 
America) and have planted it in an area that I can water in the 
Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

More information about the pbs mailing list