Romulea, was unknown bulb

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 05 Nov 2011 08:37:10 PDT

When I looked at Ina's photo, it was clear to me that it was an 
African Romulea, but as Angelo mentioned, which one would have been 
difficult to tell from the photos. There are many beautiful species 
and a lot of variation even in the species that you see in the wild. 
Some of them are identified by their corms. I can remember seeing Rod 
and Rachel Saunders dig them up to have a look and then replanting 
them immediately so they could note which species when they came back 
to collect seed. I've sometimes spent hours with the keys trying to 
figure them out ones from seed exchanges where they are often 
misidentified. It's not so easy to identify them from a photo. There 
may be a character you don't have at the moment like the seeds or the 
corms even when you have the plant in front of you. I've requested 
some of the ones that I've had trouble keeping going from the BX in 
the past and known when I got them they were wrongly named since the 
corm was wrong. It's one reason why I've added a lot of corm photos 
of Romuleas to the wiki.

There are winter rainfall and summer rainfall species so they are 
dormant at different times of the year depending on that. No doubt 
Ina's is a winter rainfall bulb that will go dormant in the summer 
and start again in the fall. Romulea rosea comes in many different 
forms. It is extremely weedy (not the most beautiful forms of it of 
course) in Australia. When we visited the Mediterranean areas of 
Australia a number of years ago in the three weeks we were there 
visiting different wild areas I think we saw it every day. It's now 
been identified in great numbers in Sonoma County, California, a 
county south to the one I live in. No doubt it grows well in New 
Zealand.  In Miriam De Vos' Romulea book she even named this form 
var. australis. But that form is smaller and doesn't look like Ina's 
photo. Currently the varieties aren't recognized.

But because that species can be weedy doesn't mean all of the species 
are weedy. And some are a challenge to grow. It is one of my favorite 
genera. Many of the species are very beautiful.

Mary Sue

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