Erythronium seed dispersal

Jane McGary
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 10:53:03 PDT
A few years ago, when I was editing the NARGS journal Rock Garden 
Quarterly, I received an extremely detailed article about Erythronium 
seed dispersal, much of which we published. It should be available on 
the NARGS website. The article is in vol. 65, p. 265.

The gist, for this current discussion, is that western American 
Erythronium species have seed dispersal by ants. As I recall, this 
process is called "myrmecophory."

As Travis wrote, some Erythronium species in the wild, especially in 
the Pacific Northwest, occur as scattered populations of individual 
plants, presumably by seeding. I also observed this in colonies of 
Erythronium japonicum in Japan. In moist woodland in the American 
west and apparently in the UK, Erythronium revolutum is particularly 
happy to spread in this way.

By contrast, commercial Erythronium hybrids such as 'Citronella' and 
'Pagoda' have been selected for heavy offsetting of bulbs, a 
characteristic apparently derived from the narrow endemic Erythronium 
tuolumnense (a name I bet gets mangled in pronunciation; in the 
anglicized version of the Native American name Tuolumne, the stress 
accent is on the "o" and the first "e", and the "n" is elided).

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