ref Bulbous Genus 'BRODIAEA' in Alliaceae

Jane McGary
Sun, 13 Apr 2008 10:28:59 PDT
Dichelostemma capitatum is of garden interest as the earliest of the 
Brodiaea alliance to flower (in the open, anyway), and also for its notably 
strong violet color, which is enhanced by the deep purple stems. Its 
preferred habitat is meadow, very moist in spring and dry in summer; the 
soil is generally rocky clay. It multiplies rapidly by both offsets and seed.

Another good, hardy garden plant in this group is Triteleia hyacinthina, a 
tall plant with white to pale blue florets in a dense spherical umbel. It 
is regarded as invasive (by seed) in some Pacific Northwest gardens, but 
has presented no problem in mine.

I grow all the members of the four genera making up the Brodiaea alliance 
(the one not mentioned yet is Bloomeria, with two species in California), 
but the best ones for the garden are the big, showy ones that can support 
themselves unaided (unlike the widely grown Triteleia laxa). Brodiaea 
elegans has large flowers of brilliant violet. Triteleia peduncularis, well 
situated (i.e., planted quite deep in well-drained soil), can produce an 
umbel more than 12 in/30 cm across, as remarkable in its way as the most 
unusual Allium species. Triteleia ixioides is available commercially as the 
many-flowered pale yellow clone 'Starlight', but I prefer the Robinetts' 
darker yellow selection 'High Sierra', which comes true from seed.

I try to send seeds of many Themidaceae to the NARGS exchange each year, 
though they're tedious to clean.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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