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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fritillaria pudica-The Clone Wars

Fritillaria pudica
John Day Large Form

In Charles Hervey Grey's seminal three volume set Hardy Bulbs his description of Fritillaria pudica describes it as"One of the most delightful of all spring flowering bulbs and should be planted in colonies in every sunny, well drained, gritty rock garden.". He goes onto state that Baker claimed the stem may be up to 9" long, but Mr. Grey disputes that saying he has grown them for many years. I'm sure they must have had one of the different forms they were growing. The form above from Oregon's John Day River area is my tallest clone, also lacking any of the darker coloring some of the clones take on near the base of the flower segments. 

Fritillaria pudica 'Richard Britten'
Of all my forms, this has the largest flowers on the stoutest, shortest stems, It really seems a very different plant in cultivation then some of my wild forms. Although remarkably it reminds me more of the wild types I have seen especially toward the East end of the Columbia River Gorge, where no doubt the the effects of the  wind blasted, freezer door of transitioning from the great basin like climate of  Eastern Oregon along a river corridoor that for eons has eroded it's way through the Cascade mountains, may play a role in the short stature and tough overall appearance.

Fritillaria pudica
No name on this clone yet, but it's the fastest increasing, typical form, with stems about 4" tall. A really deep, ripe lemon yellow color to it makes it a spring standout. The mature bulbs seem to produce thousands of offsets every year. It

So there are three of the early Fritillaria pudica clones blooming now, they start early in late Feburary and  continue into early March. I have several others in the raised beds that are a bit behind. 

Cultural notes:The standard composted cow manure and pumice blend has worked well for all the different clones, the key point to pudica is that it can stand  fair bit of drying out. Having shipped a number of the Western Fritillaria species for some years now. Observation has shown these will handle dry storage the best of them all. So probably for folks with a wetter summer climate, some protection would be advised. A general application of 20-20-20 I make several times before these begin into bloom depending on the weather and what the temperatures seem to run for the late winter, early spring season. 

It was snowing this morning, temps in the 30's all day, yesterday was nice and today offers sunbreaks in the forecast but supposedly accumulating snow tonight. 


1 comment:

  1. Mark, my name is Will Clausen. I work at a garden up in Washington and am really interested in trying to get my hands on some Fritillaria pudica. Can you send me an email? wclausen@gardenconservancy.org