Erythronium japonicum and patience

Paige Woodward
Wed, 06 Apr 2016 18:19:08 PDT
Hello, Jane. I had my first bloom on Fritillaria recurva this spring. Old hat for you. But I have been growing Erythronium japonicum for years and would be happy to trade you some, for interesting seeds to be discussed, if you are interested. Advice only on demand, but by now I have some sense of where in my garden’s conditions, at least, E. japonicum will take and multiply, and where it will bloom at first, then dwindle, then vanish. I also faintly recall some remarks on some plant list or other about not falling for poorly marked, possibly food-grade E. japonicum; and I would like to mention that seedlings of this species run the gamut from ravishingly marked to utterly plain. I have wondered whether, like the markings of western Erythronium spp., japonicum’s markings vary considerably year on year, but I have not had the time or the patience to track this past the anecdotal stage. 


> On Apr 6, 2016, at 5:08 PM, Jane McGary <> wrote:
> Visitors here often exclaim that they never thought of growing bulbs from seed. Certainly it calls for more patience than buying a flowering-size bulb. However, the pleasant surprises patience can bring you are welcome.
> Last year my reward was seeing Fritillaria chitralensis in flower for the first time; it repeated well this year. Pretty, but so similar to Fritillaria raddeana that I have to enjoy its rarity alone, rather than evoking gasps from visitors.
> Last summer I lifted the bulbs that I had set as young seedlings into the hollows of the concrete bricks that surround the bulb house's raised beds. I was pleased to find 5-year-old bulbs of Tulipa regelii, grown from Archibalds' seeds. Now growing in a half-plunged clay pot, they are displaying their interesting pleated leaves, but it will probably be at least 2 years before they flower.
> Yesterday, while plucking out some weeds, I came face to face with an unfamiliar frit. At first I thought it was an odd color form of Fritillaria viridea, which grows in another part of the bulb house, but lifting a flower disclosed dark purple-brown marks at the bases of the tepals. The Jepson Manual (flora of California) and a look at a photo on the AGS Fritillaria Group website identified it as Fritillaria brandegeei from the Kern Mountains of California. I expect the seed was a Ron Ratko collection, and the label is buried somewhere under the gravel topdressing around it (it has a nice big new one now). I seem to have only one plant, but it belongs to the same group as Fritillaria affinis and Fritillaria recurva, so it probably has plenty of rice-grain bulblets on the bulb and can be increased from those. Its area in the raised bed is due for replanting this summer, so I'll find out.
> Despite all this to interest me, I was still searching the internet this morning for a source of Erythronium japonicum. I think the only hope of getting it will be a Japanese seed vendor ... and a lot of patience.
> Jane McGary
> Portland, Oregon, USA

Paige Woodward

Pacific Rim Native Plant Nursery
where the garden meets the wild

43359 Hillkeep Place
Chilliwack, BC V2R 4A4
CANADA (under reconstruction)

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