blooming pattern: another variable?

diana chapman
Sat, 05 Nov 2005 20:34:16 PST
While there aren't any truly fall-blooming species among the Themidaceae and
Calochortus, the bloom time for all these species is spread over quite a
wide season, starting in February (even January for some southern California
species) and extending into July and August, not counting the alpine
species.  One advantage in blooming late that I don't think was mentioned is
better protection from predation from birds and mice.  Mice and other
rodents love Calochortus seed, and you can often find seed pods nibbled and
empty of seed in entire populations.  Some years ago I gathered seed of
Brodiaea elegans, Triteleia laxa and Calochortus luteus from my own property
and kept the seed in paper bags over the summer. Then, when the winter rains
commenced, I scattered the seed in an uncultivated area of my property
without any prior soil preparation or weed removal (the soil was pretty bare
by that time, the annual grasses having died away and disappeared).  The
results were amazing.  I almost forgot what I had done until about three
years later, when, in late spring I saw buds of these species poking up
everywhere.  All that had happened was that the seed had been protected from
predation from the period of the ripening of seed until the rainy season

Diana Chapman

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