Nerine breeding

J.E. Shields
Mon, 28 Oct 2002 06:59:29 PST
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Hi all,

I seem at last to have a Nerine bowdenii that is fertile.  In early October, this year, I put frozen pollen from 2001 blooms of N. krigei on the blooms of a bulb of N. bowdenii wellsii from South Africa, and obtained seeds on almost all florets.  I also used the fresh pollen of this wellsii on blooms of N. filifolia, and have obtained some seeds.

I have a scape starting on one bulb of Aad Koen's (from Monster, The Netherlands) hardiest N. bowdenii cultivar.  This will be the first bloom on it for me.  Aad says he has had very good winter survival of this cultivar grown outdoors in the field, even through bad (for the Netherlands) winters.  I'm calling this one by the garden name "Koen's Hardy" until I find out if Aad has a better name for it.

N. bowdenii wellsii has narrow tepal pink flowers with wavy margins and -- at least on the one that has bloomed so far -- a darker rose midline stripe.  Wild collected material is said to have flowers in all shades of pink from very light to rather dark, and margins from frilly to straight.  I've not seen it in the wild, and have had only one bulb of it to bloom so far.

I have heard N. 'Pink Triumph' called a lot of things, mainly a "bowdenii hybrid;" but Dr. Marion Wood (from Devon, UK) tells me that it is a cross between sarniensis and probably flexuosa and that it is quite sterile.  I got what I thought were a couple of seeds on N. flexuosa from 'Pink Triumph' pollen a couple years ago, but they were very slow to grow and after two years just died while still very small.

Marion also said that a lot of cultivars of bowdenii are probably hybrids of bowdenii with sarniensis and are generally completely ovule sterile.  I guess the pollen might sometimes work?  Perhaps in backcrosses to one of the parents?  Has anyone worked with this lately?

Does anyone know of bowdenii hybrids that are fertile?  I'm interested in any Nerine species from cold areas of South Africa and in any hybrids or cultivars that show exceptional winter hardiness in cold wet climates like mine.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW    http//
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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