|The modest flowers of Hooker's fairy bells, Prosartes hookeri,|
I'm excited right now to have Hooker's fairy bell seedlings, grown from local seed, in my greenhouse! This is the first time they have germinated for me!
These pleasant plants grow in the shade. These were happy in a fairly dry edge-of-woods location, and they also like damper shade.
I hope they'll be great for my north slope's drier section.
This plant grows up and down the American west coast mostly in dampish woodland areas but also in dry oak woodlands. I found a nice page, for example, from British Columbia.
|Modest flower and a modest plant, too. Low growing, |
with a pleasant symmetry.
It disappears sometime after it's done fruiting.
When nobody is looking.
Some of you may remember it as Disporum hookeri (genus Disporum, dis = two spora = seed).
It's named after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, one of those far ranging Victorian British botanists of giant stature. But who gave it the name, I'm not sure.
|Here are unripe fruits, at the end of July. |
One to three fruits per bunch.
|Golden ripe! This is also end of July.|
You can see why drops of gold is another
common name for Prosartes hookeri.
But I've seen them be quite red too. Not sure why.
|Seed processing. (This was a prior year's unsuccessful batch.)|
You have to smoosh the fleshy fruit off the seed. Soaking for a few days helps. This year's seeds were plumper.
These seeds, according to Seed Propagation of Native California Plants, require two to three months cold stratification: putting them in a moist mix in a plastic bag in the fridge. I put the bags inside a plastic container as well, so as to feel a little bit hygienic!
Check them a little bit more often than I did. It's fine if they germinate in the fridge, then you know they're raring to go. These were maybe a bit far along but they did fine.
|Can you see the seed root??|
I checked in October, nothing.
I waited another month before checking -
|That's quite a root.|
Prosartes hookeri, Hooker's fairy bells!
Seedlings at least. Now to see if I can keep them healthy
I'm hoping to grow maybe sixteen plants, if I'm lucky! To add to the mix on the north slope, that I hope will all naturalize and come back year after year, at least in some combination!
As you may know, we've had just a little bit of rain in our region lately (February 2017). Roads have collapsed, hills have slid. And are still sliding. It's a mess. Down south right now is even worse. I'm sorry for everyone who has suffered. And I'm glad that the little seedlings are under a roof.
I'm sure that the sun will return and we'll cheer up -- and these little plants will grow apace. Now I'm wondering if I should plant them while they're still pretty small in spring, or grow them on and plant in fall. I'll just hedge my bets.