Measuring the length of the juvenile phase and corm growth in the Chilean endemic geophyte Conanthera bifolia Ruiz et Pavon

Flavia Schiappacasse Canepa, Paola Yáñez, Patricio Peñailillo, Enrique Misle


The geophyte Conanthera bifolia is endemic to Chile and belongs to the family Tecophilaeaceae. When in flower, the plant produces an inflorescence with blue florets. Conanthera plants arise from underground structures called corms; these have been reported to have been consumed as food in the past. These plants also have ornamental potential as garden or pot plants. The new corm starts growing on top of the mother corm by the end of summer; blooming occurs in the spring, and the plant goes dormant after fruit set. The corm flowering size and juvenile phase length in C. bifolia are unknown. The study objective was to determine the weight of the corm that is necessary for flowering and the number of seasons required to reach that weight. Corms were collected from the wild, separated into 10 weight categories from 0.2 to 5 g, and planted in trays in an unheated greenhouse in Talca, Chile. Corms weighing more than 1 g were able to flower, and the greatest flowering (48 to 70%) was found in corms weighing 3.5 to 5 g. The plant propagation coefficient decreased as the initial corm weight increased. The number of seasons to reach flowering size was estimated to be 8 years, placing this species in the group of geophytes with slow growth.


Chilean endemic plant, corm weight, fibrous tunic, flowering corm fraction, length of juvenile phase, Tecophilaeaceae.

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