Cover image for Bulbs of North America
Bulbs of North America
McGary, Mary Jane.
Publication Information:
Portland, Or., U.S.A. : Timber Press and North American Rock Garden Society, [2001]

Physical Description:
251 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB425 .B89 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



North America is home to approximately four dozen bulbous genera. Among these are some very popular rock garden plants, such as Calochortus, Erythronium, and Fritillaria, which have never had anything substantial written about them in book form. Others, including Calydorea, Hypoxis, and Muilla, are not as well known outside specialist collections. The characteristics that make bulbs so desirable in gardens include their great diversity of flowering time, color, size, and form; their ability to adapt to a wide range of environments; and their capacity to multiply and spread without a gardener's intervention. Amateur botanists and horticulturists, particularly those with an interest in alpine and rock gardens, and travelers planning a field trip to choice plant-viewing sites all over the continent, will be inspired by this firsthand account of native North American bulbs. More than 100 impressive color photos illustrate the 11 original chapters.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A tendency to naturalize is one of many outstanding attributes of bulbous plants. Whether tucked beneath shrubs, integrated into mixed borders, or planted in a swath of lawn, flowering bulbs can reward gardeners with showy displays throughout the seasons. Focusing on North American natives, this timely resource backed by the North American Rock Garden Society brings together a fine gathering of writers whose expertise conveys a stimulating breadth of knowledge. With an eye toward (but not exclusive to) low-water situations and rock gardens, the book offers a comprehensive look at newly discovered plants as well as familiar types of alliums and lilies found across the country. An elegant charmer, the trout lily and other erythroniums with nodding blooms and spotted or mottled leaves number among the bevy of desirable selections for gardens. Wise gardeners will do well to heed the informed descriptions and cultivation advice contained here, making note of a plant's natural habitat before envisioning where it might grow at home. --Alice Joyce

Choice Review

Well illustrated in black and white (map, four line drawings) and especially color (map, 101 mostly excellent photos in 56 plates), this book co-published with the North American Rock Garden Society represents the perfect blend of systematics and horticulture. A foreword by Brian Mathew and an introduction by editor McGary set the stage for 11 specialist chapters on various taxa (Allium; Amaryllidaceae; the Brodiaea alliance; Calochortus; Erythronium; Fritillaria; Iridaceae of the Southeast; Lilium) or regions (the Northwest, Southwest, and eastern North America). These authoritative accounts contain appreciable taxonomic detail (including keys) that will be invaluable to persons writing floras or interested in taxonomy. This detail also puts into proper perspective information on cultivation, including propagation. However, persons interested merely in cultivating bulbs or in growing alien taxa would be better off consulting more general treatments, for instance, Rod Leeds's The Plantfinder's Guide to Early Bulbs (2000). Bulbs of North America suffers from a rather general title: by fiat it treats only monocotyledons and excludes orchids, Iris, Trillium, and alien taxa, and by implication excludes Central America. All levels. R. Schmid University of California, Berkeley