|Height:||45-60 cm (1.5-2 ft)|
|Flower Colors:||purple, green, patterned|
|Life form:||deciduous bulb|
Tigridia vanhouttei ssp. vanhouttei is native to Guanajuato, Michoacan, Hidalgo, Morelos, Puebla and Mexico State. This Tigridia species is widely distributed in Mexico, but rare at all localities in its distribution range. It can be found at high elevations between 2250-2850 meters above sea level. It grows best in gravelly, rocky soils but can also be found in dry scrub-brush, stunted Quercus forest, open fields and along roadside cuts. The flowers have a distinctive yeasty, mushroom smell that is produced to attract its insect pollinator. (Some PBS members liken the smell to that of an old tennis shoe cooked slowly over an open fire; it may be that the smell of the species varies from plant to plant, or from grower to grower as some growers report that there is only a very faint smell detected only at very close range.) It is likely, although unproven, that this particular species of Tigridia is pollinated by Dipterids as opposed to Hymenopterids owing to the coloration and fragrance of the flowers. This subspecies is easily distinguished from Tigridia vanhouttei ssp. roldanii because it holds its flowers erect whereas the latter has pendulous flowers. T. vanhouttei ssp. roldanii is extremely rare and known only from two localities in Hidalgo state. Subspecies roldanii is considered by the Mexican government to be an endangered species.
The following pictures were taken in September in Texcoco district, Mexico State at 2600 meters. Photos by Dennis Szeszko.
Photo 1 by Paul Tyerman. Photos 2-4 were taken by Mary Sue Ittner of plants she grew from seed. Photos 5-6 by Martin Bohnet show a fly from the Calliphora family to be an effective pollinator on a plant cultivated in Europe and flowering size bulbs during dry winter storage.