Triteleia hyacinthina Carol Witham

Hyacinth brodiaea (Triteleia hyacinthina)


q       South-western N. America - British Columbia and south to California (2)

Climate, elevation

q       Below 2,000 meters. (1)

q       Hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. (2)


Local occurrence (where, how common)



Habitat preferences

q       Grassy, often rocky open flats to mid-montane meadows, also found in wet places, meadows and slopes to 2,000 meters. (2)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

q       Shade intolerant. (2)


Associated species

q       Brodiaea elegans (elegant brodiaea) (3)

q       Allium amplectens (slim leaf onion) (3)

q       Camassia ssp. (common camas) (3)

May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

q       Seed

q       Larger bulbs can be dug up and replanted directly into their permanent positions.

q       Smaller bulbs should be grown in a greenhouse for a year before planting them out in early autumn when they are dormant. (1)

q       Flowering size bulbs can be divided in autumn. (1)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

q       Seed may be collected from May through June (July). Seed can be retained on the heads well into summer, depending on the year. Approximately 300-450 seeds per gram, depending on individual, population, year and cleanliness of seed. (1)

q       Whole fruits can be collected from heads immediately prior to or after ripening (i.e. browning and splitting of capsules). (1)

q       Seed may be shaken from capsules that have split, but capsules that have not opened may need to be mechanically split (dry heat or repeated drying and cooling may encourage capsules to split). If necessary, large numbers of dry fruits may be shattered rapidly by very brief blending (dry in a blender). Blending typically does not damage the very hard viable seed, but may increase overall viability of seed lots by destroying readily shattered unviable seed. After blending, seed may be cleaned by sifting and/or blowing (e.g. with a thrift store blow-drier) off chaff. (1)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

q       Seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in autumn or in spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 15c.

q       Seed should be sown thinly in pots so that there is no need to thin them out until after the first year. Give an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. Seedlings are prone to damping off so be careful not to over water them and keep them well ventilated. When they become dormant, pot up the small bulbs placing about 3 in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for another year or two until the bulbs are about 20mm in diameter and then plant them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant in the autumn. (2)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

q       Seed best sown as soon as it is ripe. (2)


Recommended seed storage conditions

q       Dry storage from 3-5 months. (1)

q       Individual plants go dormant following spring-summer dry down and die back to the root. Dormant individuals can be placed in dry storage at 60-70 degrees F. (1)



Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

q       Seed, bulbs or division of bulbs. (1)


Soil or medium requirements (inoculums necessary?)

q       The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

q       Transplanted seedlings often show signs of stress with younger seedlings showing more vigorous growth. (1)

q       Seed sown directly in the field have above and below ground growth rates comparable to or better than seed grown under controlled conditions. (1)

q       Bulbs and division of flowering bulbs have highest success rate. (1)


Recommended planting density

q       Plant bulbs 2-4 apart and 4 deep. Less crowded bulbs will produce more offsets. (4)


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

q       Plants or bulbs should be watered and weeded and protected from small mammals, insects and birds. (4)

q       Soil should be kept moist but not wet. Too much moisture will cause the bulbs to rot. If rain is fairly regular, do not water at all. (4)

Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

q       Active growth phase is 6-8 months beginning late fall with onset of autumn rains (seed swelling) until drying down (die-back and dormancy) occurs in late spring/early summer. (1)

q       Plants should be well established after 1 year. (4)



Sources cited


1.      Hunt, John W. Protocol Information. CSU Research Foundation.

2.      Future-Species Database. Last Updated: 2000.


3.      Guard, B. Jennifer. Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington. Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C. 1995.


4.      USDA, NRCS. 2004. Plant Guide





Data compiled by:

Cheryl Brammer 5/10/06