Trientalis and other tuberous dicots

Jane McGary via pbs
Fri, 12 Mar 2021 12:00:25 PST
Nils's informative initial post mentioned Trientalis europaea, a 
charming woodland plant in the Primulaceae. Here we have Trientalis 
latifolia (T. arctica at some other parts of the Pacific Northwest). 
It's actually a geophyte in the broad sense, since it grows from tubers 
that spread on stolons. I think the tubers are annual, though. I've 
tried to ship it dormant with poor results, but it can be potted up if 
you dig a good cluster of the delicate plants. It is hard to establish, 
though, and I've wondered if it needs some microbial assistant present 
in the soil. Fortunately, it was already in my garden when I moved here, 
and has increased well with organic mulching and irrigation in summer.

This is one of many plants of Mediterranean climate areas that can be 
thought of as geophytes, though dicots. One with a similar growth cycle 
is Lithophragma parviflora, which occurs mostly on rocky spots but for 
some reason has increased madly in the same bed as the Trientalis (it 
got there when I discarded a pot I thought was dead). The genus Lomatium 
(Apiaceae) is another, and one could mention the deciduous Lewisias, 
which I grow in my bulb house. How far does "bulbs" extend?

Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA

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