Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brodiaea matsonii in cultivation

Brodiaea matsonii has been maintained in cultivation since 1997. I was originally given a single one-gallon pot by Gary Matson which contained about 30 or so corms with leaves present. In growing this plant, its tendency to propagate vegetative became quickly apparent. From the original lot of corms, by the onset of the first summer in cultivation, many young corms had begun to form from offests. Vegetative reproduction is not uncommon in many native California liliaceous endemics: several taxa of Brodiaea do this, others do not.

The offset corms arise at the ends of short (10 cm or so) threadlike structures (rhizomes?), which terminate in a new small corm, which then puts up a leaf. A second season of growth, and this corm is sufficiently large to itself produce more offsets. Larger corms, about 3 yr, flower.

In the space of three or so years, the original pot was packed, and so it was divided when the corms became dormant in late summer. Replanted, that original pot became several one-gallon pots. In 2007, one of these was referred to Dr Robert Preston, a botanist familiar with the taxonomy of Brodiaea, whom has recently described California’s newest, and perhaps most-narrow endemics.

In cultivation in Aptos, Brodiaea matsonii flowers readily in cultivation in pots. The plants have been maintained just as they were given to me: one gallon plastic pots, about 2/3rds full with potting soil mixed with pea gravel.

More on Brodiaea matsonii soon...

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