There's only one named Moraea hybrid that I'm aware of, a plant named "Zoe" raised by Bill Dijk in New Zealand. Zoe is a hypnotic-looking flower heavily striped in purple. It opened my eyes to what might be possible with the Moraeas.
I've been crossing various Moraeas for several years now. I haven't raised anything as pretty as Zoe, but I'm learning a lot, and some of the crosses are starting to look promising.
MM 10-19 (In case you're wondering, the numbering scheme is my initials, followed by the year and then a number I assign to each cross when I plant them. So MM 10-19 is the nineteenth cross I planted in fall of 2010.)
It was nice to see that this bloomed in only two years. Most Moraea crosses take three years to bloom.
This is the first cross I made, and probably the most boring. I know one parent was the "neopavonia" form of Moraea tulbaghensis, but the tag broke and so I don't know the other parent. It could be M. atropunctata or maybe M. loubseri.
Although this cross is not spectacular, it has led to some interesting children, as I'll show you below.
This is one of several crosses I have done with Moraea aristata. In this case it was crossed with M. calcicola. A pattern is starting to emerge -- the petals are a mix of white and whatever color the other parent has, while the nectar guide is not as spectacular as M. aristata. This one cries out for an F2 cross, but the pollen is terrible (it looks like dried paint), and the plants are not not self-fertile. Fortunately, in the last couple of years I've been able to cross pollen from some other species onto this one. I can't wait for those to bloom.
I am redoing this cross with better record-keeping.
In the meantime, this is a very handsome flower. 03-99A has wide petals like M. villosa, darker orange toward the center of the flower, and a big black nectar guide. 03-99B, which bloomed for the first time in 2012, has a similar but duller color scheme. However, it sometimes gives me chimera flowers that have a flange growing out of the center of each petal. I'm trying to make some follow-on crosses with this one.
03-05C is pale orange with a narrow bluish nectar guide. Not the most spectacular plant, but it blooms enthusiastically and sets seed well. I hope it'll be the parent of some interesting follow-ons.
As you can see from the bottom photo, 03-05C produces some flowers with four petals. This happens with about a quarter of the flowers. I have no idea why it does this, or if I'll be able to breed the trait into anything else. But I'll try.
In 03-07b the petals are uniform color, but there's an outrageously big blue nectar guide in the middle. There are also tiny maroon freckles on the backs of the petals. This hybrid blooms enthusiastically for a long time, so it is one of my favorites.
These flowers have good-looking pollen and sometimes set seeds when crossed with other species. But they will not breed with each other, unfortunately.
This is my favorite surprise so far. I crossed MM 99-00 with itself. One plant looked a lot like the parent (so much so that I forgot to take a picture). Another plant looked remarkably like M. neopavonia (see the center photo of MM 09-04C, battered by a hailstorm). And then there's the third one, which came out a bright pure lemon yellow. This was a big surprise, since at the time I made this cross I didn't have any yellow Moraeas in my collection. So this is a genuine recessive characteristic coming out. Better yet, this plant has fertile pollen and sets seeds easily. So I can try to get that yellow color mixed with some other interesting things.
What I've learned
I'm just getting started with Moraea hybridization, so please treat all of this as preliminary guesses. But based on what I've seen so far, I think...
--Crossing white and purple flowers yields pale purple flowers (in other words, one color does not dominate over the other).
--Crossing orange and purple produces orange flowers. (Orange is mostly dominant.)
--Crossing a 24-chromosome Moraea (villosa, tulbaghensis) with a 12-chromosome Moraea (everything else) often produces fertile plants, something that is supposed to be almost impossible.
--Some of the hybrids show instability in their number and shape of petals. I wonder if it might be possible to breed this tendency into producing fully double Moraea flowers.
--The books on plant breeding all tell you that the most important step is to create F2 hybrids. (F1 is the first generation of the cross you make; F2 is when you breed those seedlings with themselves, or with each other.) The F2 cross causes recessive genes to show themselves, producing a wide variety of results. Unfortunately, most of my Moraea hybrids refuse to make F2 crosses. Instead, you have to cross the F1 hybrid with another species. That lets some recessives show up.
--Most of the "Peacock" group of Moraeas can be crossed with each other and with other plants closely related to the group. Species that appear to be generally cross-compatible include Moraea aristata, calcicola, neopavonia, atropunctata, tulbaghensis, villosa, loubseri, tripetala, gigandra, lurida, unguiculata (maybe), 'Zoe,' and bellendenii. Moraea fergusoniae and polystachya don't seem to be willing to cross with any of these, alas.
In the last couple of years I've been increasing he number of Moraea crosses I make. But they take three years to bloom. So you should expect to see up to 10 additional hybrids in 2013, and then a flood in 2014 and 2015.