BRODIAEA or CALIFORNIAN HYACINTH

These are semi-hardy, the rootstock usually a corm except with Brodiaea uniflora, where it is a bulb. Botanists have recently renamed a number of species and those recommended are given the various synonyms under which they may be found in catalogues.

Well drained, sandy soil and a very sunny position are essentials and except in the West Country the plants should be protected in winter with a covering of ashes or bracken. Increase by offsets which may be detached from the parent corm or bulb in early autumn. Brodiaea coccinea or Californian fire-cracker is the same species as Brodiaea Ida-maia, Brevoortia coccinea and Dichelostemma Ida-maia. Whatever its correct name, this must be termed a plant of outstanding beauty which is too little known. The drooping, vivid red blooms are tipped with green and are freely produced in June on 1 ft. stems, the plant growing to about 18 in.

Brodiaea laxa (Tritelia laxa) is taller to about 2 ft., with purple flowers which are useful for cutting. B. tubergeni is pale blue. B. uniflora, Tritelia uniflora, Tritelia conspicua, Milla uniflora and (more recently) Ipheion uniflorum are all synonymous. This species is perhaps the best known of the Brodiaeas and succeeds even on clay soils. It usually blooms from April until late summer with fragrant pale lilac flowers on 6 in. stems. They tend to close up in dull weather and a sunny spot should accordingly always be chosen. It is excellent grown as an edging to beds and borders or on a rockery, being hardier than other Brodiaeas.

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