21 May 2008

The Ides of May

This will probably the the last picture I take in the garden for a while. Luckily, Ixia viridiflora bloomed just in time, and I got some decent pictures. With it, as usual, firecracker flower, Dichelostemma ida-maia, which I have not managed to photograph, though you can just see it in the background of this shot.

I looked into the name of D. ida-maia a few years ago, and read somewhere that it was named after a lady named Ida Mae. But I was never totally satisfied with this explanation, because it always blooms on May 15, which is the Ides of May, a date newly significant to me. So with the help of the internets, I tracked down Alphonso Wood's original 1867 description of what he called Brevoortia ida-maia:

This plant was first noticed by Mr. Burke, stage-driver, in his daily route, and by him my own attention was first called to it. He had given it the name of "Ida May, in affection for his little daughter,"—a name quite appropriate, moreover, as on the Ides (i.e., the 15th) of May, the plant begins to flower.

The type locality was on the stage road from Shasta City to Yreka.

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Blogger lisa said...

That's a really pretty, clear blue! I'd never seen this before...do the flowers last a long time?

5/21/2008 10:51 AM  
Blogger mmw said...

The flowers hang around for a while, but they only open wide during the day for the first couple days. The color is very, very distinctive. Only a very few plants produce flowers this color, which I would call wint-o-green, but is normally called cyan.

5/22/2008 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, so May 15, huh? That's my oldest son's b-day. Anyway, if that's the case, congrats.


5/23/2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger Gardener of La Mancha said...

Congrats on making Ides of May connection. Interesting.

5/23/2008 10:10 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Hey congrats on your new family members! (I read about it at Chuck's blog.) You'll have a fun and busy summer for sure! :)

5/30/2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger mmw said...

thanks everyone

6/06/2008 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

The width and breadth of plants you can grow is leaving me green.


2/23/2010 12:09 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I saw this on Annie's and it's on my wishlist. Let's hope they still offer it.

11/03/2011 12:45 PM  

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