Antennaria@aol.com Antennaria@aol.com
Sun, 09 Nov 2003 13:25:45 PST
"Jamie" jamievande@freenet.de wrote:

>The obvious problem with hybrids is their
>fertility or lack there of.  The Amarillids seem 
>to be relatively fecund, while the Alliums are 
>often sterile.  This means we will see fewer 
>intergeneric Alliums, as well as F2, F3, etc 

I find that sterility among Allium species to be a rarity, not something that 
"often" occurs. 

Example: I have numerous forms of Allium schoenoprasum, and in two forms they 
seem to be "nearly" sterile and produce precious little seed, but most forms 
of chives produce masses of seed.  All the forms interbreed readily.

Apomixis is certainly known within the genus (the ability to produce seed 
asexually), so that can be a factor.

Weather conditions can be the appearance of certain species not being 
fertile.  In a few years, if it's dry enough, the Melanocrommyum section of Allium 
will produce lots of seed, but there are many years in a row where they fail to 
set a single seed among many species (this year was such a year, way too much 
way and tropical downpours).

A few of the named "big ball" hybrids, such as the famous 'Globe Master" 
(macleanii x cristophii), are reportedly sterile, the claim largely borne out in 
my experience.  To see this allium, here's a wiki picture showing a young 

But one thing I do know, my garden is FULL of Allium hybrid seedlings, and 
the range of possibilties seems to grow each year.  Many species freely 
hybridize with one another, most often among similar sections of the genus, such as 
among the Rhiziridium alliums angulosum, senescens, nutans, rubens.  Surprising 
hybrids among more distant species, such as between the American cernuum and 
stellatum with the European and Asian nutans, senescens, and rubens, fire up 
the imagination.  There are no shortage of hybrids here.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States 
antennaria@aol.com "New England" USDA Zone 5
>> web site under construction - http://www.plantbuzz.com/ <<
alliums, bulbs, penstemons, hardy hibiscus, western 
american alpines, iris, plants of all types!

More information about the pbs mailing list