Vegetative Erythronium propagation
Sun, 25 Apr 2010 12:50:36 PDT
On 23 Apr 2010, at 21:40, Diane Whitehead wrote:

> > Rodger:
> >> Further: I have been reliably told that you can propagate  
> >> erythroniums by
> >> simply breaking the bulbs into several pieces and replanting.
> >
> Paige:
> > This is very interesting. Please tell us more!
> I have found out more about it in Ian Young's article "Erythronium  
> japonicum" in The Alpine Gardener, June 2009.
> I think he is referring only to Eastern North American and Eurasian  
> plants.
> He says the bulbs are corm-like, in that they renew themselves  
> yearly.  However, the old bit stays on and over the years a chain  
> forms.  The old bits remain dormant while they are attached to the  
> newest part, but will start to grow if they are detached.

My informant was referring to western American erythroniums, and to simply 
breaking the bulb into several pieces and replanting. I suppose greater success 
would occur if the pieces are allowed to dry out and callus a little before 
planting by just leaving on the bench for 24 hours.

As for the little nubbins that E. dens-canis and its races form, propagation by 
separating those and replanting them is a long-known technique.

WRT western erythroniums that multiply vegetatively, over the years I've 
probably looked at some tens of thousands of plants of E. revolutum growing 
wild and only once have found one that formed a clump. I've seen fewer E. 
oregonum, but never seen one that clumped.

The clumping E. revolutum was in the ecological reserve along Sutton Creek, so 
I left it alone, but on my next visit a week later, someone had dug it up and 
removed every last bulb, carefully disguising their excavation with bits of 
moss. I hope they didn't kill it!

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

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