Biarum carduchorum

Jane McGary
Wed, 06 Jun 2007 10:21:17 PDT
Jim McK. wondered about the growth and bloom patterns of Biarum.

I grow a number of species of these (mostly) small aroids, and am amazed at 
the within-genus variation in times of flowering and leaf growth. 
Particular species do, however, seem to have about the same cycle each year.

Last fall I got to see some in the wild and was enlightened about them in 
that they get much bigger than I thought they would. B. pyrami was 
especially huge. Yet it flowers here in a 6-inch pot. I'm going to give 
them more room and see how that affects them. I have a few B. davisii 
growing in the open garden, in a sand bed, but they have not flowered 
there; the winters may be too hard on them.

At least the vultures haven't attacked them. Nor have they attacked 
Dracunculus vulgaris here. When it flowers, I always react by wondering 
where the dogs have left a dead mole. In the MEditerranean, where D. 
vulgaris is native, there are numerous species of vulture, but they must 
have learned to discriminate between the inedible plant and the edible 
carrion; the American turkey vulture (vernacular "buzzard," a usage 
condemned by British birders but presumably established early in the 
colonial period from some British dialect) has not evolved with this 
particular stinker and may get confused.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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