Calochortus Bulbs & Seeds

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 24 Dec 2017 10:43:21 PST

On12/24/2017 9:54 AM, Irving Gunderson wrote:
>     Why am I fussing about this? Because the photos I see show  some
> forms to be far superior and I was hoping it would not be difficult to
> get some of these.
Many years ago the Robinetts who went around collecting seed in 
California and selling it along with bulbs they grow from seed used to 
sell Mariposa hybrids.  They assumed that open pollinated seed if 
several species were flowering at the same time could be hybrid seed. So 
plants grown from that seed were sold accordingly. I expect that seed 
from PBS donors that are not isolating the different species is really 
hybrid seed and you'd get a variation of plants from that seed. For 
example Calochortus luteus and Calochortus superbus often grow and 
flower in the same locations.  I've witnessed some really interesting 
differences when I've been in some of those places when plants are in 
flower at the same time and wonder what species they are or are they 
just hybrids. One of these days I'll get around to adding to the wiki 
some examples I saw a couple of years ago. In the meantime you can get a 
small sense of this (but not with the same variation) in the wiki photos 
on Bear Valley Road.…

The plants we witness in the wild even of the same species often show a 
variation. And the wiki pages for Calochortus superbus and venustus show 
a range of possibilities.……

The Calochortus venustus I grew from seed produced flowers with a lot of 
variation. Like John Wickham's different  C. venustus 'Burgundy' 
flowers, the ones I ordered from a catalog did not look like the photo 
in the catalog at all. None of the ones that flowered were red and they 
were soon gone. It's likely that if you grow plants from PBS seed you 
will have some to great variation in the plants that flower and the 
plants that survive will be used to your location. Will the flowers that 
result be superior? That probably would depend on your definition of the 
same. I think one of the pleasures from growing from seed happens when 
you see the first flowers. Sometimes the result is a great 
disappointment, but sometimes you are rewarded with something very special.

Mary Sue

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