I am reorganizing the greenhouses, trying to make room for all the seed flats that are currently being sown. As I leaned over a bench to pick up pots of Calostemma purpureum, there, right in front of my eyes, was a beautiful umbel of Calostemma luteum. I had almost give up. This bulb was given to me about thirteen years ago. It was a small bulb, and I also have pots of C. luteum grown from seed sown in 2003. None had ever bloomed, while C. purpureum blooms very easily. I thought maybe they needed more heat, but I have only two heated benches and there simply wasn't room for them. This summer was much warmer than usual, and one bulb finally produced its lovely flower.
Calostemma is a very small genus that is native to Australia. This, in itself, is unusual, since there are very few bulbs native to Australia, and Calostemma is the only endemic species. It grows in the southeastern regions of Australia where it is widespread, and there is quite a bit of color variation.
I am hoping to propagate this solitary bulb since they produce rather interesting seeds that don't need pollination. It is thought that they are not actually seeds, but bulbils that are clones of the parent plant, so we'll see what happens. Now I am inspired to warm up my other pots and see what I get.