white Nothoscordum ID (not N. ostenii)

Mark McDonough antennaria@charter.net
Tue, 10 Nov 2009 18:45:30 PST
The BX had this item with a comment by Mary Sue Ittner:

22. Nothoscordum sp., I had this one on the Mystery Bulbs page, but no one 
could help me identify it. It was received as N. ostenii, but has white 
flowers and is large. I've added pictures on the wiki on the Nothoscordum 

... and follow-up comment:

"Dear Jane, 
The plant I offered seeds for is not the weedy Nothoscordum that I 
have gotten from various seed exchanges under the wrong name and 
destroyed. The seed came from Harry Hay and a lot of his material 
came from Flores and Watson. I haven't put it in the garden, but have 
kept it in a container just to be safe. It doesn't really look like 
Dennis' pictures of Nothoscordum bivalve. I'd really like to know what it is."


To possibly help in the identification, I make available "A Review of the Genus Nothoscordum in Cultivation, by the late Thad M. Howard.  Thad prepared this summary for my short-lived G.A.R.L.I.C. newsletter published between 1992 - 1993.  Tonight I scanned the document into a PDF and popped up on my website so that you can access it:


It's 7.3 MB, so those of you with slower connections, be forewarned.  Also, scans tend to produce text that is not quite as crisp as an original document, so for best viewing I recommend setting your Acrobat Reader to view at 125% zoom level.  Also, as viewed on the web, there is even further fuzziness, so for best legibility, save the file to your local hard disk, then open it there.  The PDF was scanned for word searchability, which seems to be working for the most part. 

There are lots of white-flowered Nothoscordum species other than the weedy inodorum and bivalve... I've grown a number of nice ones from Thad.  I offer up the Nothoscordum summary for you to reach your own conclusion what the ID might be.

PS: there is a scanned page of color photos, and yes, they are not the best photos, sort of blurry, but Thad didn't have the best photographic equipment.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, near the New Hampshire border, USDA Zone 5

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