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Author Topic: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08  (Read 2867 times)

Diane Whitehead

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Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« on: February 08, 2008, 07:09:40 PM »
Comments on E. revolutum:

I collected seeds last summer and sent them to exchanges, but yesterday
I discovered capsules I had missed, and they all had seeds in the
bottom - despite wind storms, heavy rain, snow, deer, and dogs.

The ones in my garden are the offspring of two plants I dug about
40 years ago.  I shall do what you suggest, and see if any seedlings
are forming clumps.  None of the older plants have.

Wild revolutum can spread faster than you suggest as they grow along
streambanks, and often get washed away, so they end up further
downstream.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Ian Y

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2008, 07:20:51 PM »
Good point Diane, I had not thought about river distributed erythronium seed.
Shows the advantage of seeing them growing in the wild.
I too often find seed still in the bottom of some capsules after nearly a year - they only get sown when the capsule eventually disintegrates.
They have not evolved the best dispersal method.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 12:32:06 PM by Maggi Young »
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Ed Alverson

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 08:02:13 PM »
Thanks Ian for putting together this Erythronium series, it has been fun to look forward to each week's installment, and it will be a great resource for Erythronium lovers into the future.

Ian, perhaps in a way you make it look too easy with the wide array of Erythronium species you grow!  To me there are two key factors in your success that not everyone might be able to duplicate.  One is of course your climate, which has such a moderation of extremes that you can meet the cultural needs of such as wide array of species.  For example, while I can easily grow the species from low elevations on the west coast of North America in my garden, I doubt I could succeed with some of our native high elevation or inland species such as E. montanum or E. idahoense because of my garden's combination of wet winters (and clay soil) and warm dry summers. 

The other factor is patience, because seed is really the only way to get the large displays of flowering patches that really make erythroniums such great garden plants (well, except for "Pagoda", "White Beauty", and the like that produce abundant offsets).  I don't recall you mentioning how long it has been since you started growing Erythroniums, but it clearly has been a long sustained effort!  But in a way, erythroniums are a good antidote to our hectic world that seems to demand instant gratification (even in gardens), and in fact are a way that we can make an investment (of our time) that will pay its rewards in the future.

In regard to the comments on Erythronium seed dispersal, these comments are of course true for the western NA species, but species from other parts of the world are adapted to dispersal by ants, and in fact the seed heads of Erythronium umbillicatum lay flat on the ground when mature, to more easily entice ants to cart them off:

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242101609
http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/ben356.html

Ed
Ed Alverson, Eugene, Oregon

rob krejzl

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2008, 10:04:12 PM »
Quote
I too often find seed still in the bottom of some capsules after nearly a year - they only get sown when the capsule eventually disintegrates.
They have not evloved the best dispersal method.

?

Surely any dispersal method which keeps viable seed close to the parent plant for more than a year before releasing it has some point to it.
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Diane Whitehead

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 01:12:58 AM »
It also makes it easier for forgetful seed collectors.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Maggi Young

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 12:39:28 PM »
Quote
Rob: Surely any dispersal method which keeps viable seed close to the parent plant for more than a year before releasing it has some point to it.

Of course; it is just not the BEST method, if, by dispersal, you imply spreading the seed as widely as possible.

 Ed, perhaps our garden is unusual, but we don't  have ants here.... I could not tell you when I last saw an ant in the garden, let alone families of them, working away......thus our observations on seed dispersal by ants are rather thin on the ground, if you'll pardon the expression!  I'm sure ian will have comments to make but, for myself, I am not aware of seeing on Ery. seed a visible eliasome, such as are found on the likes of Trillium .... I must look harder, it seems!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Maggi Young

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2008, 01:47:47 PM »
Ian has just returned from a watering session in the glass houses and has cuffed me roundly about the ears for not paying proper attention! He pointed out his discussions about the differing seed capsule opening mechanisms on various types... designed to lay seed out on the ground etc.....and showed me his close up pix showing VERY visible eliasomes...... Oh dear, I MUST pay more attention..... unlike  Ian, who really LOOKS at things, I am content to not see any ants and think; no ants!  Off now to write out one hundred times: I must pay more attention to the BD......... :P I think I hear him muttering about a prophet being without honour in his own land..... I'd better go and buy him a Toblerone  :-[
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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rob krejzl

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2008, 07:37:58 PM »
Quote
Of course; it is just not the BEST method, if, by dispersal, you imply spreading the seed as widely as possible.

Nope, didn't mean to imply that. Indeed, the only place a plant 'knows' has the conditions needed for a seed to grow into a mature plant is right where the parents grow. Everywhere else is the equivalent of placing a bet on the outsider in a horserace - a long shot that can pay off big if it comes home. The  point I was trying to make was that one should always assume that a process one doesn't understand has some point to it, and puzzle it out from that direction rather than the opposite one. After all, natural selection should have discarded anything which is all cost and no pay-off a long time ago. Delaying the release (better than dispersal?) of viable seed suggests something like a safeguard against unfavourable conditions in the 'gap' year, for example.
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Maggi Young

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Re: Bulb Log 6 Feb 7/08
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2008, 07:41:41 PM »
Quote
Delaying the release (better than dispersal?) of viable seed suggests something like a safeguard against unfavourable conditions in the 'gap' year, for example.
Quite so, no doubting that.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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