About breeding hippeastrum

Jim Lykos jimlykos@optusnet.com.au
Fri, 11 Nov 2005 01:35:29 PST
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 seen. 

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 flower.
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.

Jim Lykos


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