Romulea engleri ?

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 28 Mar 2016 19:29:00 PDT

This question is relevant to the recent thread about seed exchanges. 
Rimmer deVries wrote to me and a number of others hoping to identify a 
Romulea he grew from the BX received as Romulea monticola, a species 
from South Africa with yellow flowers. The flowers on his plants are 
pink. I looked up the source and it was Jim Waddick from leftover seed 
from SIGNA. Rimmer wondered if it could be Romulea engleri, a species 
from northwest Africa.  Lauw de Jager thought that identification was 
correct, but there are a lot of romuleas and many of them cannot be 
distinguished from the color and size of the flowers. Some have leaves 
that are distinctive, and in the case of the South Africa species, 
corms, bract, and bracteoles are often important in telling species 
apart. Having discussed identification of Italian species with Angelo 
sometimes anthers and stigmas matter as well.  As morphology becomes 
less important with dna being a determining factor I don't know how we 
are going to figure out what we have so we can communicate. Rimmer's 
photos look a lot like the very weedy form of Romulea rosea which was 
once known as var. australis because it has become widespread in 
Australia. It also is common in New Zealand and more and more evident in 
California as well. I expect it is often donated to seed exchanges. Does 
anyone have access to a key of all the Romulea species which might help 
tell the difference between the South African species and species from 
other parts of Africa and Mediterranean areas? David Pilling has added 
Rimmer's photos to the wiki Mystery Bulbs page. If there is consensus 
that what he is growing is Romulea engleri his photos would probably get 
moved since the wiki has only a very small photo of that species. It 
would also be helpful to have more information about that species to add 
to the wiki.…

Here is the description of Romulea rosea var. australis from the DeVos 
Romulea book:
Corm with hard outer tunics and bent teeth at the base
leaves 1 to 2.5 mm, generally compressed cylindrical, with rather wide 
grooves, usually spreading, each rib with a prominent vein and slender 
lateral veins.
Peduncles 3-8 mm long, flowers 15 to 22 mm, up to 5 mm
Perigone tube 2 to 3.5 mm long, segments up to 4 mm wide, subacute, pale 
lilac-pink with usually a pale yellow cup, outer segments on the backs 
yellowish green or with 3 to 5 dark longitudinal stripes
stamens 7 to 9 mm long, pale yellow, reaching halfway or higher up the 
style 7 to 10 mm long, stigmas not overtopping the anthers

Mary Sue

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