Saturday, March 14, 2015


Erythronium hendersonii
The very first fawn lily to bloom here, this is a short individual, less than three inches tall. Most fawn lilies (glacier lilies, dog-tooth violets, other names too) are very interesting if you get down and look at the pendant face of the flower. There are often delicate striations towards the center of the flowers. Notice how three of the anthers are long, while the other three are short. The short ones dehisce first, extending the opportunity for the purple pollen to become transferred to another flower by a bee.

Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc'
The last of a few Crocus flowers to bloom this year, this one is a mutant with only four petals, instead of the typical six. When there are extra or missing petals, there are also often missing or extra reproductive parts, correspondingly. I'm not seeing any anthers here, but I bet there are less than the usual three.

Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc'
Another view of the mutant. It is still very pretty, unique even. The branched stigma and the pointed, and thinner than usual petals give this flower a charm of its own.

Chionodoxa forbesii, Narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête'
An early morning photo, taken without the use of the flash. It is not sunlight, but a small incandescent flashlight illuminating the scene. I used a very low ISO and a two second timer, while the camera rested on the block wall retaining this raised bed. No hands meant no shaking, as it was in the mid forties (F) outside and even on my best days I would shake with a long exposure like this. Part of the fun is trying new things like this, flashlights instead of expensive lighting equipment. I like to travel light, and a lot of improvisation to make it work. It works for me.

Chionodoxa lucilliae
This genus is very confused, often being sold under any variety of names, sometimes inaccurately. Sometimes what is sold is possibly of hybrid origin, as these plants are fairly promiscuous and not the "settle down" types. Some taxonomists wish to just combine all Chionodoxa under a single species or even lump the whole genus under the umbrella of Scilla, which is funny to me since Scilla has recently been split up into several genera (including Chionodoxa). I am fairly positive of my ID with this plant, but I can never feel too good about it with such confusion surrounding it.

Scilla bifolia in bud
The alpine squill grows with two leaves, thus the epithet "bi-folia". It is a small species, but one of the prettiest in my opinion. In bud it is similar to Chionodoxa sardensis, but the flowers appear to be on shorter peduncles and borne to one side, but I'll have to observe more to say this with confidence.

Scilla bifolia first flower
The most obvious difference between Chionodoxa and Scilla is that the filaments of the former are fused and flattened, while those of the latter are free of each other. Compare this with the pictures of Chionodoxa above, pay special attention to the anthers.

Pseudomuscari azureum
A relative of Scilla and Chionodoxa (in the Scilloideae, a subfamily within the Asparagaceae). I love this diminutive little plant. It will probable appear in a few future posts.

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