Thursday, September 30, 2010

Question: Fragaria chiloensis for fruit, and largest bulbed spring ephemerals?

I'm putting these questions "out there" because I can't find much info through the research I've done. Hopefully someone will stumble upon these and share some good info!

Does anyone know of any selections of Fragaria chiloensis (the native coast strawberry) with better or worse fruit production? Or just have any experience growing them for fruit? These plants should survive on an ecoroof, so I'd like to use them as a groundcover between taller plants.

And, any thoughts on the largest sized corms (bulbs) of the edible spring ephemerals Camassia, Triteleia, Brodiaea, Erythronium, and Dichelostemma? Or have extra corms to share or trade? These should also work well on an ecoroof, plus they fill a useful understory niche in forest gardens, so it seems well worth identifying and breeding for larger bulbs. Here's a little rundown of what I've come across, though I have little personal experience:

-Camassia: Eric Toensmeier in _Perennial Vegetables_ says C. cusickii bulbs get two to three times as large as those of C. quamash.

-Erythronium: Samuel Thayer in _Nature's Garden_ says the western species E. grandiflorum has larger bulbs than most other species. Natives would sometimes harvest hundreds of pounds of them at a time in the spring. By comparison, it takes Thayer about an hour to pick one cup of his native E. americanum.

-Triteleia: T. laxa "Humbolt Star" is supposed to get huge bulbs instead of making many offsets. So it'd be a lot easier to harvest, though you'd have to pay more attention to allowing for good reseeding.

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