Melanthium - bunchflower

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Melanthium - bunchflower

 

Planted out in 2010, then more or less forgotten about until a beautiful branched spire of bloom appeared recently, is Melanthium latifolium (EDIT update: this is Melanthium virginicum, I would use "strike-through" text formating except is doesn't exist on this forum) , a little known member of Liliaceae from Eastern USA. Melanthium species have tunicate bulbs with short, vertical rhizomes.

The USDA still lists it as Veratrum hybridum. Below is a link to a discussion on the close relationship between Veratrum and Melanthium in Flora of North America, explaining why they maintain Melanthium as distinct from Veratrum, with 4 species ascribed to the genus.  Stated in FNA: "traditionally, Melanthium latifolium has been known by the misapplied name M. hybridum Walter (N. L. Bodkin 1979).
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=120114

Melanthium latifolium is found in a limited north-south range in eastern USA:
http://www.efloras.org/object_page.aspx?object_id=7409&flora_id=1

Mine is planted in full sun, which it seems to be enjoying; habitat description is "dry, rocky, wooded slopes", so might be a good candidate for more shade.

It's been flowering for weeks, a beautiful plume of individually large and uniquely shaped blooms. The blooms have a peculiar scent, best described as a light combination of cow dung and sweet perfume, sounds worse than it is, I find it intriguing and keep checking it out.  As the flowers go over, they age to a chartreuse color, making the bloom spike prettier than ever.

  

 

A couple close up view, then a photo of the foliage which I show reluctantly, as the plants is swamped with clover and other weeds.

     

Longma
Longma's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2012-11-19

What a wonderful plant that is Mark ! Ticks all the right boxes for us, and one we'll certainly be trying to grow ASAP. 

Did you grow it from seed? 

53.69° N, Dedicated to West Coast Fritillaria, plus three other members of the subgenus Liliorhiza. I grow other Genera, as time permits !

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

I was given a single small potted seedling three years ago, this is its first blooming. I certainly do hope it sets lots of seed, will make an offer to share some here if it makes seed.  Passed by it during my luch hour, and caught that barnyard scent a yard or so away :-)

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

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

Testing a new plugin to the forum whereby Moderators can split topics, I accidentally executed a "Split Topic" action on this topic, believing I would be presented with a dialog box interface before it actually executed the split, I guessed wrong.  Sorry about that. To follow the remainder of this topic, follow this link:

https://www.nargs.org/forum/melanthium-continued-accidentally-split-topic

 

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

No way to merge them?

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

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

Not that us Moderators are aware of, unless there's a a plugin module that is a reciprocal to the Split Topic function recently added.

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

Log in or register to post comments