In a message dated 8/26/2004 10:09:42 AM Central Daylight Time, Angelo Porcelli <email@example.com> writes: > Crinum breeding: which features ? Hi Angelo, I have to agree with you that some of the flowers are ephemeral, and some don't rebloom, and some don't have fragrance, and some don't have substance (a bit of rain and they are a mess). So, clearly there is room for improvement in terms of garden worthy plants. I must tell you that once I discovered Crinum jagus types cold bloom for a full week and produce huge white flowers, as well as cover the garden with the delicious scent of vanilla, I realized there was potential there. So, breeding for fragrance is one possible direction. Additionally, I have a pass-along plant that I suppose is 'Emma Jones', but it produces stalks about 3-ft-tall rather than 4-ft-tall. It blooms in mid-July and keeps producing huge flowers for weeks. I've read that 'Emma Jones' produces about 12 flowers per stalk, but this plant, given to me 2 years ago, produce 22 flowers on a stalk. Each flower lasted about 48 hours in intense sun, and didn't lose color. So, breeding for many-flowered, colorfast, rich pink-red blooms is another direction. Another favorite of mine is 'Bradley.' It just gets better each year. It does not offset a lot, but is producing a few pups. Meanwhile the mother bulb sent up 4 stalks over 4 weeks this spring, providing excellent color and a good focal point in the garden. It does not rebloom later in the year. So, breeding for a seasonal display of color, held high, is another possible direction for hybridizers. Some clones of Milk and Wine Crinum (C. x herbertii) bloom heavily in spring, then again in midsummer, and sometimes again in fall. So, season long repeat is another direction that hybridizers might take. Milk and Wine Crinum are so variable that many should be tossed--no substance and no repeat. I'm fond of some of the smaller Crinum hybrids. They seem to multiply quickly and give a display as good as, or better than, tulips. But, of course, they do so later in spring. Many of the smaller plants could be improved with flowers that hold up better in rain. I have just a few of the small red-leaved Crinum. I think they are C. procerum 'Splendens.' They take a long time to reach maturity, but when you see them as large 6-7 ft-tall plants you might be willing to breed for foliage effects. Marcelle Sheppard has a C. asiaticum cross that looks like a half-sized asiaticum in foliage, but it blooms off and on from spring till fall--beautiful clusters of firm, sturdy, white flowers. I have a plant that I suppose is C. erubescens. It tolerates all kinds of abuse, and it flowers when it wants to, but usually in later summer and fall. The blooms have good substance and last for 48-72 hours each. I'd really enjoy the putting some fragrance into that plant through breeding. One of my all time favorites is on Marcelle's Web site, it is called 'Bride's Bouquet'. There can be 2 or 3 dozen starry flowers per scape, and sometimes 4 scapes open at the same time on a mature plant. The effect really is like a bridal bouquet, perhaps one made of overly large Stephanotis blossoms. The flowers hold up OK, but could be improved by substance and fragrance. LINK: Bride's Bouquet Photo http://geocities.com/marcellesheppard/Marcelle/… So, while it is true, many Crinum do not produce cut flower-quality blooms, or displays suitable for the garden. I do think that such ability is within the plants. To me, the genus seems a bit like wild roses--once blooming and/or small-flowered. When you factor in the wonderful Amarcrinum hybrids it does seem that fragrance and substance can be achieved. However, the years of waiting for progeny to bloom reminds me of a a project I heard about at the University of California. One professor was breeding redwood trees for enhanced timber production. On his time scale Crinum are quick indeed. Conroe Joe (still hot, still humid, sometimes rain, lows about 78-80 F).