Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bigfoot....Story of a Big and Furry seedling!

I have trouble even calling this baby a's so big! The picture above shows a great example of the agonies of hybridizing....waiting to see a new seedlings full potential before deciding to keep it or cull it. Sure it's a nice plant...even a nice Petrocosmea...but I'm trying to hybridize for more than a "nice" Petrocosmea...we already have plenty of those designed by Mother Nature in the form of the various species.... At around nine inches in diameter...yes nine inches in diameter, its an impressive green plant. The result of a cross between the compact and happy little species P. forrestii, which was it's mother, and the much larger and bolder P. duclouxii (or grandiflora, depending on whose opinion you favor). It gets it's form from its mom. To look at the photo and not know the plant size, one could easily assume it was a photo of a non-flowering P. forrestii...but this guy is BIG!!! Larger, even, than it's father..P. duclouxii.

Note the furry leaves...the long silvery hairs on this plant clearly came from P. duclouxii. They are soft and silky and enhance the plant's appearance and appeal. This seedling has two named siblings...P. 'Keystone's Little Rascal' and P. 'Keystone's Angora'. ..(both of which are pictured in previous posts on the blog). It did bloom, last year. Flowers were very similar in color and size to it's P. duclouxii parent. The flower count for a first bloom seedling was very good. My records show that it produced 22 flowers over the first bloom season. The bloom season was from late January through the end of it had an acceptable flowering period.
So why am I hesitant to name it? My hesitation is from two concerns....1) was it different enough from P. 'Keystone's Angora' and 2) the flower pedicels were long...much like P. forrestii. The pedicels appeared wiry and didn't hold the flowers upright at the best attitude. They did support the flowers..they didn't flop, it was just that when I looked at them...they didn't look back at me as nicely as I would have hoped. The flowers were quite large...larger than either of it's two siblings, which was a plus. The lobes, however, were sort of pointed more like the forrestii parent and I felt the rounder lobes of 'Keystone's Angora' were more attractive. The flowers on this one were more "star-like" and pointier in appearance.
So, another year of growth has shown that this seedling is different in several promising ways, and it is surely larger than it's two siblings. It shapes up nicely, and makes an attractive rosette. Lets just see what the next flowering season produces. And, of course, we'll see if it produces far, none of the selections in this cross have done so. (I select against offset or sucker production in my hybrids, as I feel it detracts from the nice, smooth, flat rosette. The plants root easily from leaf cuttings, so I feel the suckers are not needed.)