Brodiaea grandiflora minor Benth.
Brodiaea purdyi Eastw.
Hookera minor (S.Watson) Britten ex Greene
Hookera purdyi A.Heller
Brodiaea minor is a perennial plant producing a cluster of grass-like leaves and a slender, leafless flowering stem from a corm; the plant usually grows 2 - 10cm tall, occasionally to 30cm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens[
Southwest N. America - California
Grasslands, gravelly clay soils; at elevations up to 500 metres[
Brodiaea minor is native to the Mediterranean climate of California, growing at elevations up to 500 metres. Away from the mildest regions of the temperate zone it is susceptible to damage in severe winters. Whilst the plant can be protected from cold by adding an organic mulch to the soil, it is more important, prehaps, to give protection from wet conditions, especially once it dies down in late summer until it comes into growth in the spring[
Prefers a rich sandy loam and a well-drained soil in a sheltered position[
]. Succeeds in most soils and situations[
]. Likes plenty of moisture whilst in growth, followed by a warm dry period in late summer to autumn[
A very ornamental plant[
], it can flower in 2 years from seed[
When harvesting the corms from the wild, the native N. Americans followed a few simple rules to ensure that there would be good harvests in future years. Firstly, they would not harvest all the plants, making sure there were mature seed-producing plants the following year. When harvesting the corms, they would replant any smaller corms attached to the large one. Harvesting would usually take place after the plants had produced seed, also harvesting the seed and scattering it in suitable places. They would also periodically burn the area where the plants were growing whilst the plants were dormant, thus reducing competition from other species[
Corm - cooked[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame[
]. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. Sow the seed thinly so that it will not require thinning and grow the seedlings on undisturbed in the pot for their first year. Pot up the small bulbs when they are dormant in early autumn and grow them on for at least another year before planting them out when dormant in the autumn. Seedlings are prone to damping off, they should be watered with care and given plenty of ventilation[
Division in autumn[
]. Dig up the clumps of corms when they are dormant, divide them and replant the larger corms into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame, planting them out in late summer or the autumn.