timing for calochortus bulbils

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Wed, 23 Dec 2009 17:04:58 PST
Diane wrote,
   I have seen only two species of calochortus, as they flower later
>than I usually go.
>I've been reading Mary Gerritsen's calochortus book and find that some
>of the species produce bulbils.  It would be exciting to find a
>particularly pleasing flower and be able to collect a bulbil from it.
>However, the book does not give precise information about this.
>When are bulbils developed enough to be viable?

The bulbils are produced along the stem in the axils of the stem 
leaves or bracts, but often they are below the soil line even in the 
Calochortus plants I grow in deep pots. I suspect that in the wild, 
where the bulbs tend to be very deep, most of the bulbils would not 
be visible because they'd be underground. I don't know how early in 
the year those of the current year are viable. The annual stem would 
fall over or rot all the way down (leaving a hole for next year's 
stem), and the bulbils would then be loose in the soil to propagate 
the plant if the bulb is eaten by a rodent (as is frequent).

It still might be possible, however, to find bulbils on a stem quite 
near ground level. I doubt you would find any of the previous year's 
just lying around, because if they were above ground animals would 
just eat them.

Planting bulbils gives you a year's "head start" over planting seeds 
of Calochortus.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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