Flower count - WAS: What makes erythroniums bloom?

Pacific Rim paige@hillkeep.ca
Mon, 12 Apr 2010 21:37:46 PDT
Roy Herold wrote:

> Interesting that Telos Rare Bulbs lists E. tuolumnense as Z4-8. Or is
> this a copy of those oh-so-reliable Dutch descriptions?

Careful. Diana is the most scrupulous grower I have encountered in my own 
life as a grower.

My Zone is 6; I have not met E. tuolumnense in Zone 4. But it crosses my 
mind that Erythronium spp., like many other plants, may retain genes for 
super-hardiness from the ancient past, when their ancestors survived a 
series of ice ages. If I lived in Zone 4, I'd try burying the bulb deeply in 
granular, friable soil. Clay might be fatal; so might a muggy summer.

> Also, are erythroniums self compatible, or does it take two to get seed?

Aha. Comments, anyone?

Sensing a precipice, I would not like to generalize; but for sure, many 
liliaceous species are capable of self-pollination. Lilium and Erythronium 
among them. I have the impression that fertility mightbe less than from 
cross-pollination of seed-grown plants of the same species.

I have never tried to start a population of Erythronium from a single 
blooming plant. I belong to the "sow heavily" school. From the mature plants 
that result, I get lots of capsules full of good seed.

Aha again. Here is Ian Young, back in 2007, showing us some E. hendersonii x 
(he says) californicum hybrids. 
Evidently where he lives in Scotland, hendersonii and californicum bloom at 
the same time. My californicum are still in bud. Our mental palm trees are 
still being thrashed intermittently by real corn snow and howling winds.

Paige Woodward

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