New Moraea pictures added to the wiki

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 31 May 2007 19:35:33 PDT

For Carolyn in Tasmania and anyone else interested I've added some more 
Moraea pictures to the wiki. Actually I got a little carried away in adding 
pictures of plants we saw in the wild in September. One of the things that 
has impressed me when you start looking in the wild is the great variation 
you see in species. It's rare that they match the pictures in your books. 
In areas where there are species that are not the same colors you may get 
combinations of those colors that also don't match the descriptions in the 
books. So in a few instances I included some of the diversity.

So here's what's new in:…

Moraea caeca -- new species illustrated courtesy of Alan Horstmann
Moraea calcicola -- new picture from Alan Horstmann
Moraea falcifolia -- new species illustrated courtesy of Audrey Cain and 
Rod Saunders, Silverhill Seeds
Moraea fugax --  Here's the first place I got carried away. Jim McKenney 
fairly recently moaned about Moraea sisyrinchium which opens mid day or 
later and closes later in the day. If you aren't home you don't see it and 
even if you are home you have to be looking at the right time. A lot of 
Moraeas are like this and are called fugacious or short lived. Some of them 
continue to bloom off and on for another 4 or 5 week once they start, but 
each flower is open only briefly.

Moraea fugax is one of those species. Hence the name. Flowers open around 
noon (if the weather is warm enough) or later and are gone by sunset. In 
spite of that we saw it many times on our trip in many different locations. 
So I first added a yellow one from Namaqualand and a white one we saw 
driving from Nieuwoudtville to Clanwilliam. Most of the ones we saw have 
moderately large flowers making them easier to spot. We went with Rod and 
Rachel Saunders to Bainskloof and late in the day near some wonderful 
Kniphofia blooming wonderfully after a fire some time before there were a 
lot of M. fugax. According to the Moraea book (The Moraeas of Southern 
Africa, Peter Goldblatt) chromosomal variation is particularly extensive in 
the large subspecies, fugax. Flowers are yellow, blue or white. Usually 
there is just one color in an area and he writes: "there is no recorded 
intrapopulational variation for flower color." However if you look at my 
pictures from Bainskloof you will see purple blue flowers with blue crests 
and white spotted yellow nectar guides,  lighter purple blue flowers with 
blue crests and pale yellow marked with darker yellow nectar 
guides,  creamy white with light yellow crests and light yellow nectar 
guides, creamy white with light blue crests and dark yellow marked gold 
nectar guides, and creamy white with white crests and white nectar guides 
marked with gold and darker yellow. It was reminiscent of the interesting 
combinations of M. papilionacea.

In Namaqualand we saw white flowers of subspecies fugax and of a subspecies 
described in the Moraea book as subspecies filicaulis. The latter is much 
smaller and has two filiform leaves. Subspecies fugax usually just has one 
long, trailing, channeled and linear leaf and the flowers are larger. So I 
added a number of pictures of this smaller subspecies that include the 
plant and the leaves so you can tell them apart. Finally we arrived at a 
population of subspecies fugax not yet open and watched them "pop". We 
wished we could film it happening, in time release photographs, but the 
best we could do was to show the bud and have a series of pictures as the 
flowers opened. The amazing thing was that minutes after the flowers 
finally opened there was already a pollinator. There is also a picture of 
the seed pods and some old flowers so you can see what it looks like if you 
missed the flower when it bloomed.

Moraea gawleri - The next excess of pictures I added were pictures of M. 
gawleri. This is a much smaller flowered species, branched, and one that I 
found quite charming on earlier trips, but haven't found I could grow so it 
has become somewhat less charming in my mind so I won't feel bad about 
this. I've added some color variations to the wiki including the attractive 
brick red form. Since even in the same area there was variation in color 
(shown in the Clanwilliam pictures) I think it would be very difficult for 
you to be sure that seedlings would necessarily end up the color you want. 
How you'd ever mark them for the right color if you came back to collect 
when the flowers are so small I can't imagine. But since I have no 
survivors from seed I've tried I haven't had to worry about what color they 
turned out to be.

Moraea gigandra-- another photo added from Alan Horstmann.

I promise to be more moderate on the next page.

Mary Sue

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