February 13, 2011

Stenomesson pearcei, my long wait has paid off.


High in the Andes, on mountain slopes from Peru to Bolivia comes todays rare bulb which is blooming in the greenhouse as it is snowing outside. It's so reassuring that during this record breaking cold and snowy winter, that such miracles can occur. For I've tried everything to get this stubborn bulb to bloom, almost tossing it last year. Now, my precious pot of Stenomesson pearcei that I have had for ten years, has finally come into bloom with a single spike and a half dozen of bright yellow and green bells, each providing some hope that not only can I bloom something rare in the coldest and snowiest winter in history,  but that maybe this is a sign that spring will come soon. No, wait... I'm supposed to like winter, right?

As the light snow falls today, I can't even image the colonies of Stenomesson pearcei that grow and bloom in the summer, in the high in the protected alpine meadows where its bulbs can form offsets protected from animals,deep in the quick-draining alpine soils amongst the grass. Stenomesson pearcei grows at a very high elevation, between 9,000 and 13,000 feet and although there are rarer bulbs, this one is still quite uncommon in collections, even among those who collect rare bulbs.

This little bulb has caused some big controversy in the bulb world lately, since most of the species within this genus have recently been transferred to the genus Clinanthus, thanks to the hard work of one Dr. Alan Meerow, an expert on New World Amaryllidaceae (the Amaryllis Family). I met Dr. Meerow at an International Bulb Society conference in 2000, and his expertise inspired to to collect more endagered bulbs that have been rescued.  Kew has accepted the reclassification and all species have now been moved except this one single species, which remains ( for now) as Stenomesson pearcei, ( if you care about such things).

I was hoping that I had a Phaedranassa viridiflora, but alas, my label must be rewritten ( me and my labels!). Still, my Stenomesson pearcei is not something common enough to sneer at. 

The entire plant on the sand plunge bed set against the snowy exterior garden. As you can see, it is rather tall at about 3 feet.

I have pollinated the stigma, so I am hopeful that I may get some seed.


  1. Jacob Knecht3:17 AM

    Hearty congratulations!!! I am so glad it has finally bloomed for you. It looks beautiful and your pictures are lovely. This species won't bloom without a cool winter. I have grown the bulb in Honolulu but it will not bloom there (not surprising).

    You got the taxonomy (almost) right, except that there are many species still remaining in Stenomesson, with solid molecular evidence to back them up. For Kew's list of currently accepted species in the genus see: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/qsearch.do;jsessionid=0CA155D0C8A52D1F52FE6E65C63BA01E

  2. Congratulations!!!. What a delightfull view. I love the yellow and green combination. Does it have a good gragrance?. It's an interesting plant - not a genus I've heard of.

    Now I have another new bulb to find !!!.

  3. Wow i like that yellow flower....yellow is the color which express the emotion of beauty.

  4. I've got two bulbs bought last December after seeing this post!!!!!!! The photos are gorgeous.
    Did it gave to you any seeds?
    Thank you very much for your answer.


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