January 5, 1780
Today is the anniversary of the death of the English academic, attorney, politician, and gardener, who sat in the House of Commons, Robert More.
A passionate amateur botanist, the botanist Philip Miller, named the plant genus Morea (“Mor-AY-ah”) in honor of Robert More. But later, Carl Linnaeus altered the spelling to Moraea (“mor-ah-EE-uh”) to honor his wife’s maiden name.
And in 1803, the Belgium painter Pierre-Joseph Redouté created one of the most beautiful early illustrations of Morea.
Morea is a rare and delicate plant in the Iris family. Moreas are not as hardy as the common iris. And instead of growing from rhizomes or bulbs, Moreas grow from corms.
Unlike bulbs, corms are a little different because they don’t have a bulb’s layered scales. Corms produce little cormlets that can be broken away from the parent plant for propagation. Familiar plants that grow from corms include gladiolus and crocus.
Like bulbs, corms thrive in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Most corm perennials prefer sunny locations and when you plant them, make sure to plant them with the pointed side up at a depth about four times the size of the corm - that's a good rule of thumb.
In case you’re wondering, you can find Morea in some specialty bulb catalogs.