Thursday, April 18, 2013

Moraea neopavonia

To me, these are stunning flowers: brilliant orange and brilliant blue, with black freckles thrown in.

In captivity, the forms you usually see have a large or narrow blue eye, which is sometimes colored slate or black, or is absent altogether. Judging from online photographs and correspondence I've exchanged with folks in South Africa, there's a lot more variability in nature.

Botanists have merged Moraea neopavonia with a related species, Moraea tulbaghensis. Intermediate forms between the two species were found in the wild, and it became very difficult to tell them apart. I use the old name to identify my plants that have the forms shown here.

Big blue eye:

Narrow blue eye:

Gray-blue eye:

Black eye:

Deeper orange color, big blue eye. I call this form 'Summerfield' in honor of Gordon Summerfield, the South African bulb grower who supplied it to me:

Eye almost missing:

Almost no eye, streaky tepals:

An intermediate form between M. neopavonia and M. tulbaghensis. Eye is bluish and flowers are fairly flat, but they're the smaller size typical of M. tulbaghensis, and are somewhat cupped. I think it's because of flowers like this that the two species were merged.

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