About breeding hippeastrum

Jamie Jamievande@freenet.de
Fri, 11 Nov 2005 01:54:58 PST

I believe you are taking the proper approach.  From my own work with
hemerocallis i have found that dark tones are reliant on a few factors.  1)
concentration of pigment(s) and 2) types of pigments.

Basically, all plants are pigmented through a combination of water soluble
anthocyanin pigements and fat soluble carotenes.  The carotenes are all
yellow to orange, verging on warm red.  Anthocyanins are magenta to purple
pigments that vary their tone according to the pH of the vacuole they
inhabit.  Interestingly, cyanidin (magenta) and delphinidin (blue-lavender),
two of the most common anthocyanins, will produce an almost black colour in
high enough concentrations at a relatively high pH.  I do not know if both
are present in Hippeastrum (Amaryllids), but the chances are very good.
Interestingly, there is, also, a pH window whereby the pigments become

Now, if these pigments are present over a yellow ground, the tone will lean
to brown and appear dirty.  This is due to the transparency of the
anthocyanins, which lie on the surface of the tissues and are not deeply
imbedded, as are the carotenes.  The clearest reds and purples are created
when the carotenes are absent or in a very low concentration.  I would think
that crossing pure white cultivars with the most intensive deep red-violets
would bring the purest colours.  Concentration of pigmentation through
selection would then be the next step. A method of determining carotene
presence is to gently wash the floral parts in warm, soapy water.  The
anthocyanins will largely wash out leaving the carotenes.

You mentioned the different colouring of the venation.  This is common as
the anthocyanins are carried through the water system of the plant and may
concentrate in the veins.  If you are seeing two different colours, then we
may well have at least two main anthocyanins.

Hope this info helps.  This would be exciting!

Jamie V.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Lykos" <jimlykos@optusnet.com.au>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 10:35 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] About breeding hippeastrum

> Hi Carol,
> I  have been thinking about the same Hippeastrum breeding goal - a strong
dark red-black Hippeastrum. There were a couple of marvelous Hippeastrum
breeders here in Australia that lifted the bar considerably on getting
darker toward black Hippeastrum hybrids.
> The Larssen's 'Black Beauty', 121, Bloodline and the Macguires 'Nana
Parnell' are the names of the darkest Red Hippeastrums I know about or have
> I've managed to buy a couple of these very dark red Hippeastrums, and have
tried reciprocal crosses with the aim of extending the darker fine velvety
texture.  What I have noticed is that some dark red Hippeastrum flowers
have purple venation and its the combination of red and purple that creates
the black colour in the petals - and this is sometimes concentrated in the
dorsal and flowers throat. The furry cilliation  that looks like a velvet
texture on the surface of the petals also contributes to blocking the
expression of red in a dark bloom.
> So my attempts have been to cross the solid dark reds with cultivars
displaying dark violet, strong solid  pink-purple and  dark mauve velvety
petal colours, with the hope that some of the offspring will combine the
colours producing red with strong purple pigments - making a near black
> Surprisingly taking a picture of a dark red flower is a problem with
digital photos as a camera flash is needed, and the flash usually brightens
the colour  to make the flower look  bright red with a blackish throat.
However in reality  the flower has the same colour as the throat.
> The most advanced of my hybrid seedlings for  dark red flowers are one to
two seasons from flowering.
> Cheers
> Jim Lykos
> Springwood
> Australia
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list
> pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
> http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/list.php

More information about the pbs mailing list