Scented Bulbs - Arthropodiums

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 08 Jul 2006 20:56:23 PDT
Hi Geoff,

My husband and I have made two trips to Australia in spring to the areas 
with Mediterranean climates on plant exploration trips with Rodger Elliott 
as the guide. The first was to Western Australia and the second to South 
Australia, Kangaroo Island, and Victoria. These areas have rainfall in 
winter and mostly dry summers. We saw Arthropodium strictum in bloom on our 
second trip. My field guide for the Grampians gives the time of bloom from 
September through December. It's been awhile but I think we saw a even 
smaller version in bloom too, Arthropodium minus. I see it listed in the 
Encyclopedia of Australian Plants as found in all states and the same for 
Arthropodium strictum (listed in Volume 3 under Dichopogon). In spite of it 
being listed in all states the time of bloom is listed for the same months 
as my field guide, September through December. There were a lot of plants 
that I thought really wonderful in the Little Desert and Mt. Arapiles Area. 
I'm not sure some of the ones I liked would fit our criteria, but there 
were great ground orchids, and a number of monocots with lily in the common 
name. Arthropodium strictum is found there too and I think that is where we 
saw both species. And they were fragrant, unlike my plants.

Arthropodium milleflorum is found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, 
Tasmania and South Australia according to the Encyclopedia of Australian 
Plants so it grows in areas with both dry and wet winters. It is listed as 
blooming from September to March so perhaps it blooms in spring in the 
winter rainfall areas and summer to fall in the summer rainfall areas. Last 
year my plants started into growth in October and they are still green now 
with a few flowers and green seed pods. Most of my winter rainfall plants 
have been dormant for a long time except for the California natives.

I listed when my plants grow on the wiki, but how they grow for me is 
probably much the same as they would in the Mediterranean areas of 
Australia. These plants bloom very quickly from seed (less than one year to 
two years from seed) so it will be interesting to see what cycle yours 
chooses to grow in.

When to start seed is always a challenge. It's usually recommended to learn 
what the weather pattern is where it is found in nature and in the case of 
these species, that wouldn't help you much. Perhaps you'd have to know the 
origin of the seed.

Mary Sue

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