I've just been collecting Tigridia seeds from the bulbs I planted back in the spring. It's been a bit wild and wet lately, which is probably not conducive to cacomitl seed health, so I've decided to delay no longer. Although cacomitl seeds can and do germinate successfully as volunteers in this part of the world, I find it hard to believe that sitting in a soggy pod for weeks on end will do them much good.

Now if I had the time and space (both physical and mental), it would be fun to sow the whole lot and then select the plants for the biggest bulbs, just like Luther Burbank did. The best bulbs would be allowed to cross-pollinate and the rest would be eaten. This would be a highly satisfactory way of incentivising plant breeding in my opinion. Cacomitl's easy and amenable nature and obvious fecundity might, with sufficient selection effort, yield up something worthwhile. With their excellent flavour, it is only the small size of the bulbs that keeps them typecast in the role of amusing ethnobotanical footnote.

Ironically, I suspect that removing the immature seed pods might have a much more immediate and positive effect on bulb size than years of painstaking selection. If the behaviour of other plants is anything to go by, this would divert energy away from seed production and into vegetative growth; you can't win 'em all.


Kath said…
You do grow some intriguing stuff. I like to come here to stretch myself! (Botanically, that is>)
Rhizowen said…
I can't help it; I've been warned, but I'm apparently incorrigible. Watch out that tomato and pea breeding doesn't have the same effect on you.