Crocus banaticus and flower stems

Jane McGary
Wed, 22 Sep 2010 18:14:37 PDT
Jim Waddick wrote,
>Are there any crocus that develop flowering stems on the outside of 
>the corm direct from the basal plate? Do all crocus develop their 
>flowers from the center of the corm? Confused.

Some crocuses that form large corms produce several flowers here and 
there around the corm. You can see this easily if you wait too long 
to plant them! The stem, of course, is not present above ground at 
anthesis (flowering) but it elongates while the seed is ripening (the 
ovary is usually below the soil surface too. When the seed is ripe, 
in some species the stem suddenly elongates and pops up the capsule. 
This must be to prevent it being eaten while unripe. I think ants 
usually carry the seeds away once they dehisce. There is quite a bit 
of the crocus plant that most gardeners never notice, including all 
the various types of leaves that have technical names such as 
"prophyll" and "cataphyll." The whole structure is really pretty 
complicated, as the drawings in Mathew's book show.

Jane McGary

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