Veratrum and the other genera in the Melanthiaceae are my favourite garden plants. They may be slow but, boy, are they worth the wait. Anyone who likes growing these plants and who has access to back issues of The Plantsman should look up a great paper by Brian Matthew in the June 1989 edition. In it he reviews Veratrum and extols its virtues as a garden plant. Happy to send a photocopy to anyone interested. For anyone who cares, the taxonomy of the family has been overhauled recently in a fascinating series of papers by Wendy Zomlefer, at the University of Georgia, and her colleagues. Based on her molecular studies, it seems that what used to be Melanthium should be considered part of Veratrum. Amaianthemum is monophyletic and is the genus most closely related to Veratrum. What used to be Zigadenus has 'exploded' into Stenanthium, Anticlea, Toxicoscordion and Schoenocaulon, leaving poor old Zigadenus as a monophyletic genus, represented only by Z. glaberrimus. I grow most of the Veratrum species and several Zigadenus, sensu lato. To answer Jim W's question, yes these plants do have a noticeably swollen stem base which, at its widest, is perhaps twice the diameter of the stem, although I suspect that to describe it as a 'bulb' would be misleading. I'm also currently growing Stenanthium gramineum from seed that I bought from JJA last year. It's still on their list, if anyone else wants to try it. It germinated well after sitting outside in a pot in a cold frame over winter (zone 7/8, min temperature this winter -7 degrees C). If anyone has seed of Amaianthemum muscitoxicum, Veratrum fimbriatum, V. insolitum, or any of the former Melanthium species (especially V. woodii) to spare I would be immensely grateful. Later this year I should have seed of most of the Veratrum species (and lots of other good stuff) to trade. Best wishes, Tom On 19 Jun 2008, at 18:21, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: > Also somewhat similar plants include Veratrum woodii, with > darker flowers in a woodland setting ( a slow grower, but excellent > once established) and Stenanthium gramineum also on my wish list. > > I can't put my finger on Jane's 'Bulbs of NA' for comparison, > but I am curious how 'bulbous' these actually are. Do they really > have a bulb of thickened stem bases that are semi-bulbous. > > Regardless, all worth pursuing. Best Jim W.