First harvest of native bulbs grown from seed

It's been two years since I sowed the seeds of four natives in deep boxes where I hoped they would grow and form bulbs that I could then increase for use in my garden.

One issue I've recently been reading about though is having enough diversity in the seeds - I'm afraid some of these seeds all came from the same plant. Now I know when seed collecting to take a few from different plants, where that is possible, so as to have some genetic diversity in the sampling.

When the spring rains stop - it's time to stop watering the bulbs and let them stay dry through summer. You're supposed to do this in a shady place, but they were getting some sun. I thought I'd better check to see whether I'd baked them!

So I upended the boxes recently, and this is what I found -- with flashbacks to the original post (which is here - and which also gives details about the planting mix and boxes). They all seemed healthy - as far as I can tell!

Mystery Thingymabulbs - Mysteriosus thingimabulboides

They look like little people! Not bulbs but not sure what you call these.

Do you know what plant these will grow into?
They're not even bulbs actually. I'm pretty sure these came from seeds that came out of this fruit:

 - but I have no idea what the plant was now. I think when there was some growth in the bulb box it was kind of a fat pointy leaf. Can't find the pics (switched computers - not yet fully recombobulated).

If nobody can tell me, then I guess I'll find out when it grows.

Fremont's Star Lily - Toxicoscordon fremontii
AKA Death camas. I read that it made some members of the Lewis and Clark expedition very sick.

A nice plump little bulb. But don't eat it! It's poisonous

I thought it would be interesting to record how they set in the soil. Quite low.

Here is the harvest of Fremont's Star Lily. If they all grow it will be very nice indeed.
This plant has long strappy leaves and the flowers are in a - I always forget the term - panicle? A bunch of flowers on a pretty long stalk, each of which looks like this lovely:

Toxicoscordon fremontii used to be known as Zigadenus fremontii. It got changed in the latest edition of the Jepson manual, which is the bible of California's native flora.

Calochortus Albus - Fairy Lanterns
Ah- one of my very favorite native plants. Such a beautiful satiny bloom.

Fairy lanterns blooming - one of my earliest photos of native plants.

These fairy lantern bulbs sit right below the surface

Fairy lantern bulb harvest. The bulbs have longitudinal ridges. 

Wavy Leaved Soap Plant - Chlorogalum pomeridianum

These guys are big!

See how big?

Here is how they sat in the soil, their tops just under the surface an inch or so.
You may know that native people in California would mash the bulbs to remove the pulp and use the fibers for brushes, which they glued together with stuff from the pulp. There is a bit more on this on my original bulbs post. Or you can Google for a lot more info. At Henry Cowell State Park in Felton, I like to attend the annual Ohlone Day celebrations. In 2012 it's on September 8th. They have the brushes there, and dancers, and rituals, and all kinds of neat crafts to do - and buy - and activities for kids.

So - I've put the bulbs back in their boxes for now. In Fall - I think I'll plant each in a deep 4 inch or gallon pot, and see what they all do -- I'll do a bit of research before I decide - and I'll post again when they are farther along. The hope is that they mature into plants that produce more bulbs that I can sart to harvest and use in the garden and elsewhere on the property. Gophers permitting!


Carolyn ♥ said…
What a grand experiment you are conducting. You must be having fun... I'll be curious to see your results!
I have so many pots of indigenous bulbs, the contents a bit confused. Was looking at them today and thinking it is time to be brave and put some in the ground. Too many pots to water!
Very impressed with growing bulbs from seed. I am yet to have the patience for it. Pink Hat's off.
I have a ton of Calochortus, and Iris fernaldii, seed here, but I just haven't gotten around to trying to sow any of it yet. It's encouraging to see you're having so much success producing your own bulbs!