Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Old dogs and new tricks, part III

In 2006 I decided to do an experiment with 'Fortune's Double Yellow', the massive climbing Hybrid Gigantea, by putting its pollen on my favorite orange mini breeder, 'Joycie'. Why? To see what would happen, of course! Fortune's Double Yellow' is believed to be capable of breeding strong yellow offspring, and yet as far as we know it has not been well explored as a breeding plant. It is probably almost completely sterile as a seed bearer but its pollen is quite fertile.

I obtained about 21 seedlings from cross 47-06, none of which bloomed in their first year of growth, which was Summer of 2007. They were moved into gallon pots to mature for the following year. In 2008, three of these bloomed: one was a deep orange five-petaled flower with a dark rusty-red overlay, one was a very double ruffled hot pink 2" bloom and one was a very large medium pink Tea-shaped bloom on a vigorous plant which would obviously be a climber. In fact, that latter is proving to grow in very much the style of a Gigantea climber with classic Gigantea foliage and large, vigorous canes bearing a few hooked prickles. The rose illustrated here is that seedling. As you can see it holds it blooms in a pendant fashion, which is wholly appropriate for a climber that will present its blooms from several feet above the viewer's head.

Now, in Spring 2009, fourteen of the 47-06 group have bloomed and for the most part are quite disappointing. None has strong yellow coloring except the five-petaled orange-red one. Most are pinks with varying degrees of yellow, and a couple are phototropic, developing a red blush with age. I have pollinated a few of these, and used their pollen elsewhere, to determine if any are fertile. I believe 'Joycie' is a tetraploid, and 'Fortune's Double Yellow' being a diploid, these seedlings are likely triploids. (Although work David Zlesak and I did with the Moore Hybrid Bracteatas showed that seedlings of mixed ploidy crosses did not always have the ploidy expected of the cross) With any luck this big pink seedling will be fertile, as it would be fun to create some new Hybrid Gigantea climbers for mild climates.

I have documented the rest of these seedlings with photos and will show these in the next few days. I just need to make time to prepare the photos, but with the pollination season in full swing right now, that could be difficult! Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,

    As you know, I love the sound of this and similar crosses. I think my FDY grafts have died this year so will need to look out for a mature plant but with any luck I'll be doing similar crosses very soon as well as on gigantea itself (which I am hoping might also be a source of yellow because the flowers here seem to come out a creamy white instead of pure white). Aleady have a name picked out for the best if I can breed an enormous climbing miniature ;)