Is this part of the secret to their success?

Montbretia showed up here several years ago. Of course, it did not take long for it to get very established. It is too shady for bloom, but not shady enough to inhibit vegetative proliferation. Those nasty stolons get everywhere, and grow into corms. They are so aggressive that they exclude English ivy! Seriously, they are the only species we know that can crowd out English ivy!

Some consider Montbretia to be the the genus name. Some consider it to be a common name for the genus of Crocosmia, or for a particular intergeneric hybrid. What is now so aggressively naturalized here might be Crocosmia paniculata. I really do not know. The few rare and sporadic blooms look like what I am familiar with in other landscapes, with branched inflorescences.

Now, I am aware of how aggressive their stolons are, and that their stolons swell into corms when they get to where they are going. I also know the physiology of simple corms, and that new replacement corms develop on top of old deteriorating corms. They might extend a few more stolons in the process, or put out a litter of cormels off to the side, but their technique is limited.

Well, it should be.

The technique demonstrated by this picture is weird. It seems to show a series of corms from the last twelve years. That makes sense if one corm replaces a previous corm annually. Longer accumulations can be found in older colonies. However, montbretia infested this landscape less than a decade ago, and took a few more years to disperse where these corms were unearthed.

Furthermore, after a decade, the oldest corms should be rotten and decomposed. Except for the stunted four year old corm, those that developed in the last six years seem to be suspiciously fresh.

5 thoughts on “Corm-ucopia

  1. Ha-Ha…we have Crocosmia/Montbretia that became very « established » , it looked very nice and flowered profusely all summer. I then thought it would look good with some Greater Periwinkle, nice blue flowers to go with the bright orange….oooopps, it completely took over and has almost destroyed the Crocosmia….so there is your solution….plant Periwinkle!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perwinkle has naturalized here too, but does not overwhelm the montbretia. I would plant neither intentionally. If it were possible, I would eradicate both, as well as the English ivy.


  2. I was in a garden the other day where the montbretia was growing out of the stone walls, up through the paving and through the weed fabric with a thick layer of gravel. It seems to be able to survive anything, there is no stopping it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    Since posting this recycled article, I actually procured a few copies of my first Montbretia that I found growing wild in Montara in the early 1980s, and did so ‘intentionally’. Furthermore, I canned a few copies of the Montbretia that grows in the downtown planter box, just in case I want to put them somewhere else.


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