Notholirion thomsonianum, was] Major excitement in the cold frame

Jim McKenney
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 13:34:46 PST
Jane McGary wrote of Notholirion thomsonianum: "Like Cardiocrinum, it has a monocarpic bulb that disappears after flowering, but unlike Cardiocrinum, it 
makes very many offsets in hard tunics, and probably will do so even 
if abused like Jim's plant. "

If by bulb you mean a bud for growth surrounded by fleshy, modified storage leaves, then all bulbs are monocarpic, in the same sense that the flowers of all plants are monocarpic.  Why is it any more serviceable (i.e what more does it tell us)  to call a bulb (the structure) monocarpic than to call a flower monocarpic? It isn't: as far as I can see. I don't recall anyone ever calling a flower monocarpic, so why should one call bulbs monocarpic?   But since the growth buds in bulbs are generally accompanied by other growth buds attached to the same basal plate in less advanced stages of development, true monocarpy is evidently unknown in bulbous taxa. I invite anyone to provide an example of a truly monocarpic bulbous taxon. What passes for monocarpy in bulbous taxa is circumstantial -i.e. not an inherent characteristic of the plant but rather a reflection of the growing circumstances of the plant in question (i.e. something killed it after it fruited
Also, considering that it both produces offsets and blooms, I would guess that Jim's abused plant likes the abuse. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.021954º North, 77.052102º West, USDA zone 7
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin /<> 
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