Brodiaea elegans

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 18 Jun 2016 18:46:58 PDT
Hi Travis,

That's  a nice photo of the Brodiaea elegans. This species is blooming 
for me now too in great abundance after our almost normal rainfall year. 
In the drought there were few blooms so it probably either didn't show 
up or didn't last long enough to flower. It's not the last to bloom for 
me. A form of B. californica blooms later as does B. pallida. Brodiaea 
leptandra and B. coronaria bloom about the same time as B. elegans in my 
garden.  The size of the flowers of these species is variable. Triteleia 
peduncularis is a species that can have a lot of flowers, but one year 
we discovered one in our area with just a few. There is a great 
variation in size of flowers and time of bloom in different locations 
for a lot of species in the Brodiaea complex so it is hard to 
generalize. On the wiki we have photos of Dichelostemma capitatum in 
different counties in California. Photographers didn't note the size of 
the flowers so it is impossible to compare the size of the  plants in 
counties with differences in the amount and timing of rainfall.  I saw 
some flowering on a recent trip in May, no doubt long after plants in 
other parts of the state had dried up and gone to seed.…

When you grow the plants from seed from different locations, they often 
bloom at different times. This has been a fantastic year for Triteleia 
laxa, again after fewer flowers in the drought. Our local species has 
short small flowers and blooms into summer so it doesn't fit your 
hypothesis either. I grow some that are in bloom at the same time that 
are much larger. So they have maintained their genetic tendencies when 
grown in the same place.  And there is a great variation in the shade of 
blue as well.  For awhile I had some that were really large, but I've 
lost them. So that variety must have not liked my conditions. Also one 
of the subspecies of Triteleia ixioides that blooms for me the last when 
it usually has been dry for some time, months after some of the others, 
has the smallest flowers.

It sounds like a good subject for a research paper, what determines the 
size of flowers of the same species in different areas.

Mary Sue

On 6/18/2016 5:25 PM, Travis O wrote:
> Interesting to me is the largest flowers in the group appear when there is the least rainfall, and perhaps the smaller flowers of Dichelostemma capitatum (the first to bloom) are least susceptible to collecting rainwater. The lack of rain in late spring and summer may have enabled B. elegans to have larger flowers by natural selection, while selective pressures may be responsible for keeping the flowers of D. capitatum relatively small.

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