Ungernia - My annual lament

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Thu, 08 Mar 2007 11:45:31 PST

I'm no expert, but like Don, I have this ridiculous notion of trying to 
grow it and see it in bloom for myself. In fact, I'd never even heard 
of it until you began your annual laments. My only reason for hope in 
trying to grow it in my climate is that the summers here seem to 
resemble what the world climate site says the summers are like in the 
'Stan countries. I know it doesn't get anywhere near cold enough here, 
but there are some species tulips originally from Central Asia that do 
just find here.

Anyway, I'm a bit puzzled about your request for any source of seeds 
because you are a co-author with J. J. Halda of the Czech Republic of 
that Paeonia book. Doesn't he travel to all of those countries all the 
time? His seed catalog seems to imply that he goes yearly. For the last 
three years (that's as long as I've known about him--after someone 
mentioned his catalog in response to your first annual lament), he has 
listed seeds for a number of different Ungernia species. I've ordered 
them all three years and have been spectacularly unsuccessful at 
getting them to germinate even though I've tried several different 
methods. (Most involving letting them sit exposed outside all winter 
long. Next I think I might try moist paper towels in the refrigerator. 
Do you know the proper way to germinate them?) However, in two of the 
pots from my first year's attempt, a slightly larger single leaf has 
emerged this winter for the third year. I'm still afraid it's a weed or 
some stray Zephyranthes seedling of some kind. (These are a problem all 
over my yard and bulb collection.) But I don't want to disturb them for 
fear I may kill them if I do. Alan Meerow said they germinated right 
away for him (in Florida!?) one time when he attempted them. If I 
remember correctly, he said they grew a really long tap root, and then 
died. So I've been sowing my attempts in tall seedling pots with a very 
well draining gravelly and pumicey medium.

So have you asked Halda if he might be able to find you some bulbs 
during his travels there? He obviously is collecting seeds in those 
countries. Does he grow plants from all the seeds he collects?  In this 
year's catalog for the first time, he offered some actual plants of one 
of the other difficult species he collects. Or maybe he knows some 
contacts over there. I think he or someone mentioned that bulbs are 
being collected to extract some chemical for research that might be 
useful for medical purposes. If you can track down who those 
researchers are, maybe they might be willing to give you a bulb or two 
as well. Since you're the chief Lycoris expert, and they're closely 
related (closest relative?), it seems they ought to help you out with 
Ungernia as well, IMHO.

Probably less than two cents worth, but...
--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

On Mar 8, 2007, at 6:42 AM, James Waddick wrote:

> Dear Friends;
> 	It seems at least once a year, I make a call for help in
> regard to Ungernia.
> 	I have two bulbs in the garden just coming up - both strong
> new growth and so far at least one has doubled.
> 	Both are in the garden for 5 years or more, but never a bloom
> 	I am always open for any source for bulbs or seeds of any
> species. Do any of you have contacts in any of the Central Asian
> 'Stan' countries - Uzbekistan, Tadjistan, Afghanistan, etc.? Same for
> Iran and others.
> 	I appreciate any wild goose chase leads anyone can suggest to
> locate a bulb or two of any species in the genus.
> 		Thanks for any help.		best		Jim W.

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