Calochortus Bulbs & Seeds

John Wickham
Sun, 24 Dec 2017 05:13:51 PST
I've purchased Calochortus 'Burgundy' a few times. This is the C. venustus red form that is so well known. To my surprise, the flowers are variable. Either the plants are seed grown or they use tissue culture from a few different original sources. 

In the wild, I've seen several populations of C. venustus. Three of note: A red population was all red flowers, though variable in that color range. Another was all white with almost no variation. And the third was all over the map, with colors from white to rich purple. 

John WickhamLos Angeles 

    On Saturday, December 23, 2017 9:24 PM, Kipp McMichael <> wrote:


  First off, a responsible seed collector should be collecting from many plants and taking only some from each. You can ask the source about this to confirm.

  Variation in the forms of a given species are not always present throughout the population. Calochortus venustus has forms that are a solid, deep red or purple, for instance. These are found usually mixed in populations where white predominates. That does not mean, however, that seed from any population of the white C. venustus will yield these deeper colors.

  Even if you can get seed from such a population, it is rare that the collector would know the color of the parent plants. And even if the parent color was known, wild Calochortus do not breed true enough to guarantee the offspring will share their parents' color.

  All this is to say: If you are after specific forms of a given species, your only sure bet is to find clones/offsets from a bulb of known form. Since some species do not form bulbils or divide, this can be a challenge. Luckily, the most variable species, C. venustus, readily divides and develops bulbils on its stems.

  I'm not sure if the popular commercial forms of C. venustus offered by Dutch companies are produced from true-bred seed or bulbils - other listers can chime in on that score.



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