20 February 2008


Lachenalia aloides var. quadricolor

Now that it's started raining again, I can report that while it was sunny, Bulbinella latifolia and this Lachenalia rushed into bloom along with the crocus I mentioned. By the way, I have been castigated for not using common names, but does it really help you to know that the Lachenalia is called a "cape cowslip"? The Bulbinella doesn't even have a common name, as far as I know... When I started this, I didn't know shit about plants, so I made a point of learning their real names to be sure what I was talking about. But so many plants that grow here either have no common name, or a fake common name, or a common name that is meaningless to those of us who live continents away from its habitat, that it wouldn't make sense to use them even if I wanted to.

Anyway, the sun allowed me to inspect my seeds further. No sign of life yet from the Fritillaria recurva, but I haven't quite given up hope yet -- there are a few sign of life in the long-abandoned Penstemon grahamii pot, of all places; probably weeds, but you never know. And much to my surprise, I successfully germinated Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum: common, nay, vulgar name "indian paintbrush" (and unlike I. niamniamensis, it memorializes nothing but stupidity). The hard part is apparently not germination (not if I can do it), but getting them to grow: it is a hemiparasite. No one knows what the host species is (are?).

All Castillejas are parasites by the way. They've been transferred from the Schrophuliariaceae to Orobanchaceae. Commonly called, as those of you who profess to value such names will be dismayed to learn, "the broom rape family."

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Anonymous kk said...

I think the broom rape family is the best argument I've heard yet for common names.

3/16/2008 10:17 PM  

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