Fritillaria Figures

Jim McKenney
Tue, 08 Jul 2008 13:15:22 PDT
Jim Waddick’s counts of Fritillaria persica bulbs prompted me to take a look
at some of the bulbs here. I’ve been sorting bulbs for the last two or three
weeks: most were dug in early June. There are a lot of them!

Among the bulbs dug were some Fritillaria received in the fall of 2003;
these were planted in a raised bed which is protected (i.e. covered against
rain) from late May  until late September. In the almost five years since
the bulbs were planted, the labels have disappeared. Furthermore, the bulbs
have not bloomed for years, and I don’t remember for sure what they are
supposed to be. Memory says F. acmopetala and F. uvavulpis. 

Five of each were planted originally. I counted them today, and here’s what
I got: one lot yielded 100 bulbs, and the other yielded 205 bulbs. Crudely
broken down into size groups, they are 4+19+14+63 = 100 and 1+4+26+174 = 205
where the first numbers (4 and 1 in these cases) represent the number of
likely blooming size bulbs, and the other numbers represent groups of
progressively smaller bulbs. In both groups, the smallest bulbs are tiny, in
the range of pepper corns to millet seeds. 

If you have not had much luck with frits yet and are envying my seeming
success, remember that Fritillaria acmopetala and F. uvavulpis are widely
adapted and also widely regarded as among the most easily grown species. 

Some Fritillaria don't seem to divide at all: Fritillaria raddeana and F.
bucharica have been in the collection since 2005 and still yield but one fat
bulb yearly. 

Some of the western North American species are well known for prolifically
producing tiny round bulbs attached to the mother bulb. What I did not know
until this year is that these tiny bulbs evidently are not produced in some
species until the plant enters summer dormancy. I've been watching the
surface of stored bulbs erupt into dozens of these tiny bulblets which are
slowly increasing in size while still attached to the mother bulb. This is

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where the lily season is reaching a glorious peak, Hymenocallis liriosme
is about to bloom and the baby Worsleya, unlike the gardener, seem to be
thriving in the heat and humidity. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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