Erythronium americanum - how to get it to flower

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RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Lis wrote:

I have moved several blooming plants into my garden, and they all bloomed again this spring, even the one that got pulled up by some critter and left to dry out on top of the soil. In one case the blooming plant is now surrounded by 5 small leaves. It'll be interesting to see if and when they bloom.

This also makes me wonder if there is a maturity aspect to the equation.  Since bulbs continued to flower the next season despite adversity, perhaps it is getting over that "hump" out of vegetative mode into reproductive mode that is a (the?) hurdle.  What pushes it over the hump is the question.

Another clue....maybe: with many Lilium species, if the conditions are too dry, the bulb tends to break up into many small, non-blooming bulbs, rather than remain as one large, flowering bulb.  I have witnessed this myself, with more than one Lilium hybrid with widely differing parentage, and there were no outward signs of water stress.  The same bulbs replanted in more moisture retentive soil produced large, floriferous plants.  So this might be interpreted as supporting the "ideal" moisture conditions encouraging reproductivity, versus dry that fosters a vegetative mode.

Um yeah, not a big revelation, but perhaps something to build on.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Reed
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Joined: 2010-10-09

There is also a vegital form of E. americanum that does not flower. These individuals make up about 99% of a given population of this species. The distinguishing characteristic of the vegital plants are a single basal leaf and no flower (Wein, 242).

Here is a link to this site I thought you all might like to see it if you have not already.

http://www.discoverlife.org/nh/tx/Plantae/Monocotyledoneae/Liliaceae/Ery...

Albany, Oregon USA. Pacific Northwest, elevation approximately 200ft zone 8. Winter wet and Summer Dry. Hot enough to ripen the peaches.

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

James wrote:

There is also a vegital form of E. americanum that does not flower. These individuals make up about 99% of a given population of this species. The distinguishing characteristic of the vegital plants are a single basal leaf and no flower (Wein, 242).

Here is a link to this site I thought you all might like to see it if you have not already.

http://www.discoverlife.org/nh/tx/Plantae/Monocotyledoneae/Liliaceae/Ery...

I assumed this to mean that 1% do flower, and 99% never flower, or 99% of the plants don't bloom because they had not developed to the mature (flowering) plant.  But reading your link, neither of these is the case.  According to Wein, a flowering plant will likely return to a vegital role in the population (Wein, 243).  This is a curious genus!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

I have the 99% that don't flower at all!

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

CMiller
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Joined: 2010-05-03

I have thousands of these and most bloom every year.  I read that they like cooler temperatures and will grow bigger if cooler.  They bloom best if there is a slow Spring with a delay between snow melt and the leafing of the canopy.  I presume that if it gets hot rapidly in the Spring, that flowering will be affected.  There is an abstract I read at http://www.jstor.org/pss/2445130 which says they do better if some large trees are removed occasionally.  That might be true because I have many Abies balsamea which are a very short-lived tree, snapping off at the trunk after 40 or 50 years.   

Connie Miller
North Channel of Lake Huron
Zone 4

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

CMiller wrote:

I have thousands of these and most bloom every year.  I read that they like cooler temperatures and will grow bigger if cooler.  They bloom best if there is a slow Spring with a delay between snow melt and the leafing of the canopy.  I presume that if it gets hot rapidly in the Spring, that flowering will be affected.  There is an abstract I read at http://www.jstor.org/pss/2445130 which says they do better if some large trees are removed occasionally.  That might be true because I have many Abies balsamea which are a very short-lived tree, snapping off at the trunk after 40 or 50 years.   

Cool temperatures are no problems here! Do your plants get lot of water?

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

CMiller
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Joined: 2010-05-03

Yes, indeed, the plants are practically in standing water in many areas and yet, they bloom nicely.  This standing water occurs when the ground is still frozen but the snow melts.  If I stick a shovel in my ground when it thaws in the Spring, the hole quickly fills with water.  There are areas with sphagnum too and lots of rotted wood and leaves. 

Connie Miller
North Channel of Lake Huron
Zone 4

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

Thanks Connie. I think I have to move some of my plants to a wetter and sunnier place. Where they are now they have to compete with some shrubs (Neillia and rhodos).
Your property seems to be a very exciting piece of land! I would say that the flooding is a pro and no contra. I would have been very careful with what I planted not to disturb the native flora and fauna too much.

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

Kelaidis
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I have grown Erythronium for twenty or more years at Denver Botanic Gardens where it blooms reliably: I have only one miserable picture to prove it...I have others I may locate sooner or later. It is actually one of the best Erythroniums I grow. It has spread to make quite a patch and comes up in the midst of other plants (like the Veronica armena and Pulsatilla in this picture). It is in a very rich peat bed with a north facing aspect but otherwise in full blasting Colorado sun.

I haven't had good luck with Erythronium americanum (full disclosure) although I recall spectacular woodlands full of it on the Cornell Campus in late April...I have been wanting to re create that some time!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

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

Kelaidis wrote:

I have grown Erythronium for twenty or more years at Denver Botanic Gardens where it blooms reliably: I have only one miserable picture to prove it...I have others I may locate sooner or later. It is actually one of the best Erythroniums I grow. It has spread to make quite a patch and comes up in the midst of other plants (like the Veronica armena and Pulsatilla in this picture). It is in a very rich peat bed with a north facing aspect but otherwise in full blasting Colorado sun.

I haven't had good luck with Erythronium americanum (full disclosure) although I recall spectacular woodlands full of it on the Cornell Campus in late April...I have been wanting to re create that some time!

It seems they take sun but dislike competition from strong growing shrubs and trees. I have to remove some of mine, I think.

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

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