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  Survival strategies (bulblets)
From: Ellen Hornig hornig at Oswego.EDU> on 2000.08.07 at 12:46:12(5255)
On Mon, 7 Aug 2000 MAIL13A/SHU%SHU@shu.edu wrote:

> The "fiend" writes -
> Sue, still don't have any of those Gonadotopons in my yard, none dropped
> there. That species then may have truly supernatural abilities to spread.
> A thought on bulblet production and the particular success of digging
> around or rototilling in propagating and increasing numbers of some of
> these bulbous species:
> it would seem to me that they would be excellent food for certain rooting
> herbivores such as wild hogs. These may dig up the large bulbs which would
> have developed an evolutionary strategy to then disseminate bulblets over a
> wider area.
> Bonaventure

This was exactly the explanation that Rod and Rachel Saunders of
Silverhill Seeds (South Africa) gave me, when they visited here, for the
incredible numbers of tiny cormlets produced by some of the Drakensberg
irids I grow (tritonia, gladiolus, etc). I don't remember which rooting
herbivores they have there, but it's exactly as Bonaventure says: the
animals eat the large corms and spread the tiny ones around.

Ellen

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From: Paul Tyerman tyerman at dynamite.com.au> on 2000.08.07 at 20:12:25(5258)
Howdy all,

I don't know how many of you are Fritillaria growers...... the American
ones (as far as I know) have tiny little "grain of rice" bulblets that sit
around the base of the mother bulb. These sit there for YEARS!!! until the
parent bulb is removed or dies. Then the bulblets start to grow.

What happens as far as I know is that the parent bulb puts out a chemical
that stops the growth of the bulblets. Once the parent is removed the
bulblets no longer have the chemical around them so they start growing.
Once one or two of them get up to a certain size they start producing the
chemical and the rest of the tardier bulbs stop growing until these new
"parents" are removed.

I have to wonder how many other plants have this mechanism that we aren't
aware of, or even if seeds are somehow affected in the same way. I have
numerous times moved something which I only have one bulb of.... only to
find that suddenly there are little ones in the area where I removed the
original from..... and I don't mean that weed types of bulbs either.

I thought I'd bring this up just in case anyone else has thoughts on this.

Cheers.

Paul Tyerman

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From: MAIL13A/SHU%SHU at shu.edu on 2000.08.08 at 22:34:41(5263)
Yes, I see the attraction between the two - the voodoo lily and the
warthog. But then wait a minute, I like them too !
BWM

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From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.08.09 at 07:38:10(5266)
Dear Friends,

Just a quick note to add to this discussion---Dr. Guanghua Zhu, in his as
yet unpublished work on the Neotropical Aroid genus Dracontium, suggests the
same dispersal strategy for Dracontium, with its numerous, large bulbils
located on top of some of the species` tubers. He suggests that wild
Peccaries (which I like ALMOST as much as I like Warthogs!) and other
animals may help to dislodge and so spread these bulbils while feeding on
the starch-filled large tubers. Of course, these bulbils are also ideally
suited for distrubition by humans, who transport these tubers from where
they may be found to where they may travel, and when the tubers are peeled
for cooking, or are being dug, these easily detached bulbils are spread!
(Paper in prep. on this by me).

Cheers,

Julius

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