• Light reflected by elegant brodiaea

    by  • July 14, 2011 • Plant Profiles, Sierra Foothills, Summer

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    June’s Blue Haze, Brodiaea

    This is a picture story of Elegant or Harvest Brodiaea in the Sierra foothill garden.  This is its native area, just south of Yosemite National Park. This and Pretty Face are the two main wild flowers existing here on the land we settled ion near the Sierra National Forest. Until starting this blog, I only have taken two or three photos of either one. Now I enjoy recording all it’s stages here in the garden and beyond in the natural areas of the place.

    Elegant Brodeaia are monocots which have single narrow leaves when sprouting.

    Elegant Brodiaea are monocots which have single narrow leaves when sprouting.

     

    In bud the Brodiaea seems luminous and as if holding a secret of color to come

    In bud the Brodiaea seems luminous and as if holding a secret of color to come

    Harvest or Elegant brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans
    This pretty native has the same umbrella-like umbrel tipped with bright blue or lavender-blue trumpets about 1 inch long. The six petals have little if any yellow in the center of each flower, but a paler shade of the same flower color, which can distinguish it from other brodiaeas. It grows  8-10 inches tall on sunny woodland slopes in great numbers, all through the California foothills and other areas of the West.

    When planting a Cleveland sage in the field, I saw the surprising length of the stem and root

    When planting a Cleveland sage in the field, I saw the surprising length of the stem and root

    I’m digging a hole to plant Cleveland sage. Obviously I didn’t dig deep enough to find the bulb of this in-the-way brodiaea. And look at that clay!  These don’t mind it.

     

    Brodiaea elegans is found is meadows and open woodlands

    Brodiaea elegans is found is meadows and open woodlands

    At the end of the bloom period of the Pretty face, (also know as Golden Brodiaea,) the Elegant Brodiaea show up.  The spring fields of gold slowly convert into cool blue on the dry slopes.

     

    They are found mostly inland from Central California north to Oregon

    They are found mostly inland from Central California north to Oregon

     

    Elegant Brodiaea in a field of going-to-seed clover

    Elegant Brodiaea in a field of going-to-seed clover

    The peak bloom is mid June to mid July, a nice long time period, reliable in the garden.

     

    Mixed with dogtail grass and tarweed sprouts in the field

    Mixed with dogtail grass and tarweed sprouts in the field

    In a natural area, this is how they look.

    Elegant Brodiaea and Pentemon Margarita BOP

    Elegant Brodiaea and Pentemon Margarita BOP

    The brodiaea appear even around the newly planted Penstemon planted around the edge of the meadow.

    All the wild color make the Brodiaea look subdued.

    All the wild color make the Brodiaea look subdued.

    The brodiaea forms a blue fringe among the meadow wildflowers and Penstemon.

    This Elegant Brodiaea has a color variation

    This Elegant Brodiaea has a color variation

    This show the star=like shape...monocots usually have flower parts in multiples of three.

    This shows the star=like shape…monocots usually have flower parts in multiples of three.

    A few of these appear in a lower area of the property along one of the paths, the only place here that this two-tone color has been seen. See the three pointy white staminoides?  These are how you tell this variety.

    Elegant Brodiaea can be distinguished by white pointed stamen

    Elegant Brodiaea can be distinguished by white pointed stamenoides

     

    Elegant Brodiaea in afternoon light, here with Heermann's tarweed

    Elegant Brodiaea in afternoon light, here with Heermann’s tarweed

     

    A sea of lavender-blue, they grow thickly on this dry slope

    A sea of lavender-blue, they grow thickly on this dry slope

    This was a partidularly dense showing of the blue.

    Backlit in afternoon light

    Backlit in afternoon light

    Now I’m just having fun…

    Brodiaea with helichrysum is striking and very summery

    Brodiaea with helichrysum is striking and very summery

    Elegant Brodiaea goes well with other Mediterannean plants, such as with this Helichrysum ‘Icicles’.  After planting the helichrysum, the brodiaea still popped up, so apparently it wasn’t fazed by the disturbance.

     

    Elegant Brodiaea in a delightful white form

    Elegant Brodiaea in a delightful white form in the natural meadow beyond the cultivatedgarden

    This was a pleasant surprise! There is a Brodiaea pallida, but it has more light lavender in it. I don’t know why the variations appear.

    Nearing the end of the cycle in mid July

    Nearing the end of the cycle in mid July

     

    Brodiaea all done, full of seeds

    Brodiaea all done, July 14, full of seeds

    Look at all the seeds the dried pods!  Should I just shake these where I want more to grow?

    Note: If you, dear readers,  would like to try growing these, either the blue Elegant Brodiaea here or the Golden Brodiaea, Triteleia ixioides, from seed, I would be glad to send some to you.  Let me know…

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    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.