Saturday, October 4, 2008

Native Plants Of California ~ #21 In A Series

One of the prettiest California native wildflowers is the blue dick. This beautiful flowering plant grows from a corm, which was an important source of starch for Native Americans. In the wild, it grows in meadows, grasslands, open woodlands and forests, spread by animals who dig up the corms for food. Black bears, deer, gophers, wild pigs and rabbits all dig for the corms, and as they do, they aereate the soil, thin the plants and leave behind cormlets, which encourages even more growth. Some corms will lie dormant for years, waiting for a forest fire to clear away shade and provide nutrients to the soil before they burst forth by the thousands.

Thinning the plant population allows them to thrive. Although the plant can be propagated from seeds, it grows faster and spreads more readily by cormlets. This California native can be easily introduced into your home garden, where it mixes strikingly in borders with the bright orange of the California poppy.

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