Tecophilaea cyanocrocus "hybrids"

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:06:34 PDT
In a note in the recent BX offering from Roy Herold, we read:

"The following tecophilaea hybrids are the result of hand pollinated,
> controlled greenhouse crosses. Curiously, most of the seedlings from the
> straight cyanocrocus parent look like leichtlinii. Perhaps the latter is
> dominant?
> 15. Tecophilaea hybrid (cyanocrocus var. leichtlinii x cyanocrocus), few
> 16. Tecophilaea hybrid (cyanocrocus x cyanocrocus var.  leichtlinii), few"
When Tecophilaea cyanocrocus was rediscovered in the wild in the 
mid-elevation Chilean Andes several years ago, the report (published in 
/Gayana/, the Chilean botanical journal) mentioned that the flowers were 
all, or mostly, of the "leichtlinii" pattern with a white center. I 
suspect that this is the typical form of the species, and that the 
striking all-blue form that growers consider typical is the result of 
selection, either of collected plants or within cultivation. It's 
probably not valid to designate the white-centered color form a 
botanical variety.

I'm glad to know that descendants of my little population of T. 
cyanocrocus are in circulation; I lost mine when I moved a few years ago 
and changed their growing situation (obviously not to their liking), but 
at least Roy and also Mark Akimoff have their progeny doing well. Mine 
all arose from 3 corms purchased from an English vendor in the early 
1990s. Incidentally, the change that seems to have doomed them was a 
move from a plunged clay pot to a covered, sandy and gritty raised bed. 
This is a snowmelt species, and perhaps it needs a cooler summer 
dormancy than it got in the same conditions as, e.g., Juno irises 
(which, however, also grow and flower rapidly after snowmelt!).

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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