Colchicum cilicicum blooming and more on new blog post

Jane McGary
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:51:55 PDT
Kathy wrote,
> What I would really like to know is,
> what source is considered authoritative for identifying colchicums? When I
> first became interested in them, I was told that Crocus & Colchicum by E.A.
> Bowles (what I believe Jim is referring to as Bowles' handbook) was the
> definitive authority. Is that still the case? Just recently (9/21) Jim
> referred to the website, and Travis referenced
> the European Garden Flora. Today both Jim and Travis referred to the Plant
> List. Are any (or all) of these considered more authoritative than Bowles?

Bowles, /Crocus and Colchicum/, is now regarded as problematic and is 
not recommended as an authority. The Kew Plantlist is widely used as an 
authority at present. However, for Colchicum, Karen Persson has prepared 
but not yet published what is intended to be a definitive monograph. It 
names many species that may not be present in other lists. /Flora Europa 
/has, I think, not been updated for some years.

The upshot of all this is, I think, that if we are distributing 
Colchicum species or cultivars, we should just do so under the names 
under which we received them, with an appropriate caveat and as much 
source data as we have. When I used to sell bulbs, I resorted to this in 
the case of Narcissus species, in which there are many controversial names.

Jim remarked that  his stock under the name 'Lilac Wonder' does not show 
tessellation ("chequering"). Neither does mine. If it were a hybrid with 
C. bivonae, I would expect tessellation. Many of the old hybrids with 
large, tessellated flowers are hybrids between C. bivonae and C. 
speciosum, mostly produced early in the 20th century. Another 
large-flowered species producing tessellation is C. variegatum, one of 
the parents of the cultivars grown under the name C. x agrippinum. 
However, C. variegatum is thought not to be very cold-hardy (mine have 
survived 18 degrees F while fairly dry).

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list