Colchicum cilicicum blooming and more on new blog post

Jim McKenney
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:54:04 PDT
When I read Travis' post and Jane's response to that post this morning, I had to take the dog out for a walk. It was just too much for me to swallow before breakfast. 
About Colchicum cilicicum and C. bivonae: the Colchicum bivonae listed on The Plant List as a synonym of Colchicum cilicicum is not the C. bivonae to which cultivars such as 'Apollo' and 'Vesta' are attributed. We're gardeners here, not (most of us anyway) botanists, and we accept the (bad) habit of citing botanical names without their authors. However, that can lead to confusion, and it does most certainly in this thread. The Colchicum bivonae which is a synonym of C. cilicicum is C. bivonae Ten.; the Colchicum bivonae to which 'Apollo' and 'Vesta' are attributed is C. bivonae Guss., and it is a "good ***" species in the Kew List system.

The plant commonly cultivated as Colchicum cilicicum, which may or may not be the real thing,  is most definitely not the same as what most of us who grow it know as C.bivonae. 
The catalog description of 'Lilac Wonder' cited by Jane was probably written sixty or seventy years after the cultivar 'Lilac Wonder' was released to the public. The two pre-World War II sources I'm most familiar with, the account in Bowles' Handbook (I'm not sure when this was last updated or when the section on Colchicum was actually published) and the account in Gartenschoenheit of October 1938,  do not place 'Lilac Wonder' among the tessellated varieties. There is no hint of tessellation in the image of 'Lilac Wonder' in Esther Bartning's group watercolor of colchicums dated 1937; in the text written by Karl Foerster which accompanied the publication of that plate in 1938, Foerster does not mention tessellation, simply describing 'Lilac Wonder' as "delicate lilac, unique" (zartfliederfarben, einzigartig).  And he places it among the sorts flowering in early autumn, not among the late flowering ones. 'Lilac Wonder' was one of the first colchicums I obtained from the old firm Peter de Jager about fifty years ago. And replacements were obtained on several other occasions over the years. All of those were the same, and none showed tessellation. A more recent acquisition two years ago brought something similar, but in small ways different. I have no idea what this is.  
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Titanotrichum oldhamii is blooming -thanks Chris! 

 Sent: Monday, October 5, 2015 11:28 PM
 Subject: Re: [pbs] Colchicum cilicicum blooming and more on new blog post
Thank you Jane, very informative!

I'll add these bits:

The Plant List (via Kew) lists C. giganteum and bornmuelleri as synonyms of C. speciosum. [1]

The Plant List considers C. bivonae a synonym of C. cilicicum via Kew. [2]

The book 'Flowers for Northern Gardens' by Leon C. Snyder wrote that C. 'Lilac Wonder' is a hybrid of C. autumnale and C. speciosum. Not sure where they sourced that info. [3] A google search found a few similar accounts as those species being the parents. I've not found data listing the original hybridizer, only that it was for sale at or before 1926. Does anyone have any old catalogs?

I'm not sure where I read that 'Lilac Wonder' was a hybrid of giganteum and bornmuelleri, or if the two were just "suspected" as being the parents. Being that both are considered speciosum variants, it's not COMPLETELY wrong...




Travis Owen
Rogue River, OR

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