Mystery Bulbs from Seed

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Mattus
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-10-01
Mystery Bulbs from Seed

I am opening a thread for this, since I seem to have a few of these this year. First... from a packet of seed labeled Moraea pritzeliana, which is not Gynandris pritzeliana, which it clearly is not. I can best key it out as a Babiana ssp. perhaps B. odorata according to the best of my resources, but I cannot smell it ( apparently it should have a violet scent?). Of course, I am growing it with Viola odorata, so maybe my nose is getting confused .

Any ideas on what this Babiana species could be? Maybe it isn't even a Babiana?

It is blooming on February 17 underglass, raised from seed from Rachael Saunders planted in 2008.

Paul T
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Mattus,

I couldn't ever find a fragrance for my Babiana odorata either, but it definitely looked like that.  Those dark anthers and the white flowers with the yellow hints.  It definitely looks like you were right in your keying. 8)

Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9°C. Max summer temp 40°C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Matt, when I first saw your photos of your greenhouse benches (holy moly!) I zeroed in on the pale flowers with the blue anthers, and was going ask what it was, so it's good you posted separately on this mystery bulb.  I have taken a look at the fantastic photo galleries of the Pacific Bulb Society site, and agree it is not Moraea pritzeliana. Looking through the Babiana pages, it does seem to come closest to Babiana odorata.
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/BabianaThree
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/PhotographsAndInform...

I like to compose side-by-side comparison photos, on the left is Matt's plant, on the right is B. odorata on the PBS site.  The trifid stigma and three blue anthers look similar, and while the shape of the petals are a bit different (more evenly narrow shape in Matt's plant), the general shape of the flower is similar.

And there is the issue of scent versus none detected. The PBS page says the flowers have a "spicy violet fragrance".

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

My suggestion: try to sniff at night! Pale flowers are often night-scented.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mattus
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-10-01

I had referenced the same photos on the PBS site, they seem to be the closest. My stigma is actually split into 4's but that may just be a freak thing. ( or I need glasses, which I do). My literature mentions that there is alot of variability in populations, so I agree, this is the closest image I can find. I tried checking for scent at night, since yes, many of my South African bulbs are only scented at night, but it may simply be one of those scents that I cannot smell, there are a few plants in the greenhouse that I cannot smell for the life of me, yet others comment on how strong the are. Getting old, I guess!

Matt Mattus
USDA Zone 5B
Worcester, MA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Regarding scent, I have grown completely unscented forms of normally scented plants, so it can be a variable characteristic, and not always a reliable characteristic for species delineation.  One such plant is my completely inodorous form of Ribes odoratum, drat!  I've also grown nearly identical forms of Allium paniculatum in a pinkish color from Macedonia, and one was unscented, the other smelled badly of dung.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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