First flowers of the New Year

Jane McGary
Sun, 07 Jan 2007 11:20:59 PST
While weeding in the bulb frame during a "sun break" (a peculiarly Oregon 
weather term, I think) yesterday I found the first winter crocuses up -- C. 
ancyrensis and C. olivieri, since I consider C. laevigatus the tail end of 
fall crocuses -- and also a plant that I had never known to flower here 
before: Ambrosinia bassii, a western Mediterranean aroid. Several 
correspondents have mentioned it flowering for them, and I think they got 
the plant from me. I believe they were seeing the flowers in mid fall; 
perhaps the later flowering here occurs because I start giving it moisture 
later. It is a very small aroid, and the inflorescence is also small, 
resembling an Arisarum but lying open-side-up on the soil surface. The 
spathe is mottled and difficult to see amid the foliage. It was too cold to 
tell whether it has an odor, but given the color and low stature, I assume 
it's beetle-pollinated. "Of botanical interest," as the lists say, and I'll 
have some available next summer.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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