Flower count - WAS: What makes erythroniums bloom?

Pacific Rim paige@hillkeep.ca
Sun, 11 Apr 2010 20:55:54 PDT
Paige here again. I sent my first message by mistake before it was complete; 
then had to be offline for awhile.

I now realize that I, too, have seen more than 3 flowers per stem. For me, 
it's on that most robust of creatures, Erythronium tuolumnense. Try 7-10 
flowers on bulbs sown in 2003 and planted in the garden in 2007. A friend 
was here this afternoon and counted idly, unaware of this discussion.

Somehow I never think of tuolumnense as a normal Erythronium. It is so much 
larger and has so much more energy than the others -- a beautiful whale 
among dolphins. It is one parent of the prolific 'Pagoda' and 'Sundisc', but 
in my experience it is more vigorous than those crosses. And in my opinion 
more beautiful by far. The crosses make more and more offsets, more stems. 
Straight tuolumnense makes more and more flowers on the stem; and makes 
offsets; and seeds around madly.

But the annoying thing about my incomplete email was that I had meant to ask 
whether any of you can explain *why* eastern and western Erythronium spp. 
reproduce differently: the eastern ones often preferring to spread by 
thready rhizomes, without flowering; the western ones seeding whenever 
possible, though they also make offsets.

What are the constraints? I think of geography and climate, of course, but 
details, please?

Perhaps it was an arbitrary descision made in a backroom. :-))


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Laura & Dave" <toadlily@olywa.net>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 3:44 PM
Subject: [pbs] Flower count - WAS: What makes erythroniums bloom?

> Roy Herold wrote:
>      >Paige wrote about Erythronium:
>            >Has anyone seen more than three flowers on a stem?
>  Erythronium helenae has four flowers on a single stem here this year
> - - - - - - - -
>  It's nice to hear that E. helenae will have more flowers eventually.  My 
> seedling plants are blooming for the first time, with but a single flower 
> on each.  However, the diminutive, sparkling white flowers are very 
> charming, and well worth the wait since sowing.
>  I also have a number of plants of Erythronium oregonum ssp. leucandrum
> that have 3 and 4 flowers on the more mature ones.  The flowers are
> large (~9 cm) and cream colored.  Here in central Washington (Tumwater),
> we have E. o. ssp. oregonum, which has one or two large (~10 cm) white
> flowers.
> Though still cold, two days of sun have been most welcome.  Some of the
> species tulips have opened fully and reminded me why I grow them.  Yea!!
> Dave Brastow (zone 7A)
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