Crocus boryi, was Crocus hadriaticus ( pict ures from habitat)

Jane McGary
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:09:29 PDT
I wrote a note before about Crocus hadriaticus without looking 
closely at the photo, sorry. I agree that the pictured flower is 
Crocus boryi. There are three white fall crocuses on the Peloponnese 
(four if you count white forms of C. goulimyi), but C. boryi is the 
only one that has white anthers, which the pictured flower seems to 
have. C. boryi can be pure white or pale cream-white, and its flowers 
have a substantial, "thick" appearance. It often grows together with 
other species, such as C. goulimyi.

Crocus species are usually identified in flower by the details of the 
style, filaments, and anthers, but sometimes one also has to know 
what the corm tunic looks like. After a while you get to know the 
"look" of the flowers and it gets easier. When I started growing a 
collection of bulbs seriously, around 1990, I wanted to concentrate 
on Crocus, but constantly battling mice and voles led me to 
concentrate instead on Fritillaria. Now, however, I'm in a 
neighborhood that is much less rodent-infested, and I have the 
collection in a secure bulb house instead of frames out in a field, 
so I hope to rebuild the crocus collection from what I was able to 
preserve, and perhaps from some more wild seed collections. In that 
connection, if anybody is still growing Crocus hermoneus from what I 
distributed several years ago, I would very much like to get it back, 
as it was a casualty since that time; I have good things to trade!

Both C. hadriaticus and C. boryi are in flower here now, both in the 
bulb house and in the garden, since I had enough to risk in the open 
when I was planting last fall. Other crocuses I notice in flower just 
now include C. mathewii, C. asumaniae, C. cancellatus (several 
subspecies, including the particularly attractive subsp. damascenus), 
C. karduchorum, C. kotschyanus, C. goulimyi (including white forms), 
C. speciosus (best in the garden), C. longiflorus, C. 
cartwrightianus, C. pallasii. Most of these are best suited to a 
Mediterranean climate, but gardeners elsewhere could try C. speciosus 
and C. hadriaticus, and perhaps C. pallasii which is very vigorous 
though not the prettiest species. And of course C. kotschyanus, but 
do try to get one of the named forms that flower reliably (one is 
'Reliant', in fact) rather than the one that just splits up 
underground, often distributed erroneously as C. karduchorum. The 
latter is uncommon in cultivation (I grew it from Archibalds' seed) 
and has a very distinctive, much-divided white style.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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