Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pelargonium x glaucifolium


I grew this huge specimen of the very old species hybrid P. x glaucifolium, for several years, first as a small plant I got from Logee's in Ct, then at Cornell in the Kenneth Post Greenhouses during my grad student years, where my pelargonium research collection was maintained. It is a night scented primary species hybrid with curious dark maroon flowers with yellowish edging. In summer it is best to let it go dry, whereupon it drops its foliage and all that remains is a tuberous rooted caudex and some rather thick branches. It can be propagated in fall when growth is ready to resume from cuttings or tuberous root divisions. Gertainly P. lobatum is in its ancestry, possibly with P. gibbosum, a very different looking plant with yellowish night scented flowers and long lanky stems. I was never able to get it to set its own seed, but it could be hybridized with another hybrid I made of Pelargonium gibbosum and P. cortusifolium, to make an interesting hybrid (which probably no longer exists, unless one of the various people I sent them to still has them). Pelargonium is an incredibly diverse genus with all kinds of hybridizing potential, far more than has been realized. Standard plant breeding techniques can produce many interspecific hybrids within the various pelargonium sections (subgenera), and sometimes between them, though the modified embryo rescue technique I developed as part of my doctoral research made even stranger crosses possible, such as Pelargonium luridum x incrassatum, another cool but probably now lost hybrid. Probably the most bizarre cross I made, but which I did not get to bring into full existance due to the fact that I had finished my thesis work and no longer had access to facilities to continue my work, was a cross of P. cotyledonis x bowkerii. I'd give my eyeteeth to see what that would have looked like, I had gotten it up to the stage of just beginning to produce shoots in tissue culture, but the the cultures died when I had to take them home. For those who know their pelargoniums well, it is a most unlikely cross, cotyledonis is a highly unusual island endemic (St. Helena Island) long isolated and far from all other pelargoniums, and P. bowkeri is a geophytic species with large fringed petaled flowers and carrot like leaves from KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Perhaps I will find a way one day, maybe after I retire, to recreate this and other new pelargonium hybrids, it sure was fun doing so at college!

6 comments:

Scented Leaf said...

Great work! I love pelargoniums since childhood and your result seem to be very special.

Scented Leaf said...

Great work! I love pelargoniums since childhood and your result seem to be very special.

Garden Much said...

I guess my red granny pelargonium hasen't got much cool factor! :)

gary said...

Hi found the article very interesting..I have several species hybrids at home, how do I send pics to you?

gary said...

Hi found the article very interesting..I have several species hybrids at home, how do I send pics to you?

Ralph said...

wow! was searching the net for info on embryo resuce for pellies. I would love to learn more on your modified method if you are willing to share? what you've done looks pretty cool!