Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Moraea Hybrid Summary, 2014

Highlights from 2014:
  -One new striped flower, and several with spots
  -Getting closer to red (I think)
  -Pastels and other interesting color combinations

I'm experimenting with hybridizing the genus Moraea, focusing on the "Peacock" species and their relatives. These are my 2014 results. I'm an amateur, and welcome advice and corrections. I’d also love to correspond with anyone else who’s growing Moraea species. Since some of the species are threatened in the wild, I think it’s important to grow and share them, and I am doing my best to help.

You can find my contact info here. For more details on my breeding program, see here.

My most interesting new hybrid this year was MM 10-02c, Moreaea villosa X tulbaghensis. That’s a purple flower crossed with an orange flower, and in this case it produced an orange flower heavily stippled along the veins:

The cross of tulbaghensis X villosa seems to turn out a lot of nice-looking flowers. I’ve repeated it several more times; those plants have yet to flower. I can't wait.

I’m seeing spots in some hybrids that combine M. atropunctata, calcicola, and neopavonia. These flowers are usually cream or pale orange, and have heavy purple spots on the back of the tepals plus a few spots on the front.

I think the best-looking one is MM 11-82a, which has the most spots on the front of the tepals:

I also like MM 11-50a. It has dense purple spots on the back of the tepals. The fronts are plain, but the spots on back show thorugh a little. And check out those very long, freckled, sword-shaped inner tepals (the narrow petals with the spots on them).

Creeping toward red. Many Moraea species are purple. Several others are orange. Cross them and you’ll usually get a pale orange flower, but sometimes you’ll get a flower that has an orange background overlaid with purple veins. The combination looks reddish-purplish-mauve. I’m hoping that with additional experiments I can nudge the colors into true red. I know from photographs online (link) that red Moraeas exist in the wild, so it must be possible.

The reddest new flower this year was MM 10-16d. Most of its siblings are pale orange or yellowish, but this one really stands out:

Some other notable reddish flowers from last year are MM 10-03d and MM 11-161b.

Pastels: Pretty in Pinkish. Some of my crosses are starting to show interesting pastel shades that you don’t usually see in the wild species. When you look closely, most of the flowers have pale orange and pale purple mixed in various ways. Here are three of the nicest pastels:

MM 11-35a looks violet:

MM 11-35c is a strange pinkish-mauve color:

MM 11-92d was kind of pink, with a narrow ring of purple around the cup:

Most of these pastel hybrids have blackish eyes. I’d love to get those pastel colors combined with colored eyes. That’s a goal for future years.

Some other interesting color combinations.

MM 11-54a has the overall look of M. gigandra but with an orange cup and purple tepals (species gigandra is bluer than this):

MM 11-41a looks mostly like Moraea villosa, but the cup has a dark center from M. atropunctata, and there’s a yellow-white ring around the eye:

This year’s other new hybrids include:

MM 10-04a. M.gigandra X tulbaghensis = tulbaghensis, mostly.

 MM 10-37a-d. M. aristata X tulbaghensis. Not nearly as spectacular as I’d hoped:

MM 10-39 b. M. aristata x villosa. Starting to get the aristata look on a larger flower.

 MM 11-101 b. (M. atropunctata x calcicola) X gigandra. Very tidy gigandra-like flowers with a mottled atropunctata center.

MM 11-119a. (M. atropunctata x neopavonia) X (atropunctata x calcicola). Pale orange with a darker center. This one looks pretty darned cool in the photo, but in person it looked a bit like a fallen leaf.

MM 11-146a. (M. aristata x (atropunctata x neopavonia)) X (atropunctata x calcicola) Orange-violet, but so faintly colored that it looks white in photos. I like this one a lot, but I think you need to see it in person to really appreciate it. I'm also fond of it because it grew from the only seed ever set by its parent.

And also...

MM 10-02d. Another orange flower with some dark streaks in it.
MM 10-16e. A dull yellow flower shaped a bit like M. gigandra.
MM 10-23b. An F2 (second generation) cross that looks just like the parents.
MM 11-24a. M. villosa X gigandra = villosa. 
MM 11-33a. Pale and malformed. I hope it’ll look better next year.
MM 11-35a, d. Pastel orange and peach.
MM 11-56a. A pale cream flower with a mid-orange center.
MM 11-66a. Another spotted flower, this one yellow in the center.
MM 11-80a, b. Pastel flowers, orange and pinkish
MM 11-122a. A cream-colored flower with small blue eyes.
MM 11-158a. Another M. villosa cross that looks just like villosa. Do you sense a pattern here?

Special bonus flower for those who read to the end. This is a cross of non-Peacock species, M. macroxyx X tricolor. MM 12-143a:


  1. Jonathan Lubar-- Alachua FLApril 10, 2014 at 3:46 AM

    Wow! Extra brilliant, Mike!

  2. Such wondrous beauty Mike, Thanks