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Common Name: Snake Lily
Dichelostemma volubile is a Corm up to 3.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
South-western N. America - California.
Clay or granite, bushy or open slopes below 750 metres in California, where it clambers over shrubs[
Prefers a rich sandy loam and a well-drained soil[
]. Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the ground is well-drained[
]. Likes plenty of moisture whilst in growth, followed by a warm dry period in late summer to autumn[
Plants are not very hardy and may require protection in severe winters[
]. This can be provided by applying a good organic mulch such as dry bracken in late autumn and removing it in the spring. Alternatively, you can cover the ground with a cloche or similar device. Plants are susceptible to rot in wet winters.
Plants are often found growing with Rhus toxicodendron in the wild[
A very ornamental plant, it can flower in 2 years from seed.
Corm - raw or cooked[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a free-draining compost in a cold frame[
]. Sow stored seed in spring in a cold frame[
]. Seedlings are prone to damping off and so should be kept well ventilated[
]. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. If the seed is sown thinly enough, it can be grown on for its first year without transplanting and then the dormant bulbs can be planted 2/3 to a pot. Otherwise prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle, planting them 2/3 to a pot. Grow on the plants in a greenhouse for at least two years before planting out in late spring after the last expected frosts.
Division in autumn of offsets that have reached flowering size[
]. Dig up the clumps of bulbs and replant the larger ones into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller ones and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.