eastern Erythronium

Crane, Charles F. ccrane@purdue.edu
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:04:35 PDT
      Admittedly, I know little of Erythronium at large, but E. albidum is a common forest herb in the Midwest, where it forms large colonies of hundreds or thousands of individuals.  Most (95%+) individuals produce one leaf per year and do not flower.  Once attaining sufficient size, an individual can produce two leaves and an attractive white flower.  Thus a  relatively large population is needed to get the desired effect.  I suspect but have not verified that there is a lot of vegetative reproduction by rhizomes, since it builds up large, dense populations without a lot of flowers.

      The major limitation to growing Pacific coast Erythronium species in the Midwest is probably winter hardiness.  Our soils can freeze deeply (sometimes 2 feet) in the winter, especially when there is little snow cover.  Also, we are a summer rainfall area that is ideal to grow grasses, so it is difficult to maintain perennial flower beds without their being overrun with smooth brome, quackgrass, tall fescue, or any of several species of warm-season annual grasses.

Charles Crane, zone 5 in West Lafayette, Indiana
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