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wildflower to newly cultivated varieties book?

klier at iscsvax.uni.edu klier at iscsvax.uni.edu
Wed May 27 14:24:17 EST 1992

Vince Summers writes:
>      Many times I've purchased varieties of outdoor plants that are,
> naturally, appealing to the eye.  My wife in particular likes these.
> I oftentimes find that these are derived somewhere in the past from
> native wildflowers.  Is there a "hand holdable" book that lists the
> basic parentage of such new cultivars?  What is its title?
  If you mean which species your cultivars are descended from, most
good garden books (e.g., Wise Garden Encyclopedia) give scientific
names.  _Hortus III_ is another obvious choice, but at almost 1300 pp,
it's not hand-holdable.  Good garden catalogs (e.g., Burpees, Parks, Thompson
& Morgan, Chilterns) also usually give scientific names.  And there are
a plethora of new book titles about gardening with wildflowers: the
latest on my shelf is Loewer's The Wild Gardener.

>      As an aside--Does anyone out there get just a little disgusted
> when they go to their local store and find that, although they live
> in the east, all that the store carries is California wildflowers?

I think this has some historical roots in the British fascination with
CA wildflowers-- remember David Douglas (of Douglas Fir fame) was sent
on a seed collecting expedition to CA to fuel the British demand for new
species for their gardens.   I was more than slightly astounded to find
one of my old friends, Dendromecon rigida, island bush poppy, 30 ft up
a castle wall in Wales-- never saw it more than 4 ft tall at home.
One thing for certain is that if you compare a wild type and a cultivated
strain of the same species side-by-side, the cultivated strain is almost
always easier to grow, because it has been consciously or unconsciously 
selected for prompt germination, coompact growth habit, floriferousness,
etc.  It's a lot easier to grow a "tamed" wildflower.

Remember too, that a plant taken to a new environment may look better than
it does on home turf-- you may have managed to leave significant pest species
or diseases behind.

Kay Klier   Biology Dept  UNI

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