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:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Moraea MM 11-119

Seed parent: MM 99-00a (atropunctata neopavonia)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata calcicola)

An orange flower with dark center crossed with a pale purple flower. Mixing purples and oranges sometimes produces interesting shades of color, but in this case it also produces some dull off-whites.

MM 11-119a. Pale orange flower with a darker orange center. Although this flower looks elegant in the photo, in person it looks pretty dull, like a fallen leaf.

MM 11-119b. Violet with a bit of orange undertones to it, if you look closely. The eyes are nice and big; too bad they're so dark.


MM 11-119c. Sorry for the awful focus in this one. The flower is cream with an orange center.

MM 11-119d. Not spectacular, but I like the yellow center, and there are a few tiny dots scattered across the tepals.

Moraea MM 11-82

Seed parent: Moraea MM 03-98c
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 99-00a

Pedigree: (atropunctata x calcicola) X (atropunctata x neopavonia)

This is the best of this year’s spotted flowers. The tepals backs are strongly spotted, but there are also spots on parts of the fronts of the tepals. The spots remind me a lot of Moraea atropunctata, although in that species the spots are close to the cup, while these are on the outer parts of the tepal. Weird.

If you look closely, the spots are not aligned with the veins on the flowers. This is different from the streaky flowers like MM 10-02c, whose markings are aligned along the veins. What will happen when I cross the spotted flowers with the streaky flowers? Come back in a couple of years and you’ll find out.

MM 11-82a


Moraea MM 11-80

Seed parent: Moraea MM 99-00b (atropunctata neopavonia)
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 03-98c (atropunctata calcicola)

This cross was very similar to a couple that produced spotted flowers, but in this case instead of spots I got pastel colors.

MM 11-80a. This one is a pale mauvey color. I like the blue eye, even though it's a bit small.


MM 11-80b. This one is light orange.


MM 11-80c. This one has a yellow center, and I like the white ring around the eye.

Moraea MM 11-66

Seed parent: Moraea MM 03-98a (atropunctata calcicola)
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 99-00a (atropunctata neopavonia)

The seed parent is pale purple with spots on the tepals, while the pollen parent is medium orange with a dark center. I've tried several of these crosses, looking to get an orange flower with spots all over. So far I haven't gotten it, but I am starting to get other sorts of flowers with spots.

You can see an inverse of this cross in MM 11-56a, with similar results.

I crossed form a with other hybrids that are starting to show spots: MM 11-50 and MM 11-82. There's been no bloom from those new crosses yet.

MM 11-66a. The flower is very pale yellow (darker at the center) with purple dots on the backs of the tepals and a few dots on the fronts. Like MM 11-50, you get the feeling that the dots want to burst out all over.


MM 11-66b. No significant spots from this one.

Moraea MM 11-56

Seed parent: MM 99-00a (atropunctata neopavonia)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98a (atropunctata calcicola)

The seed parent is medium orange with a dark center, while the pollen parent is pale purple with dark purple spots on the tepals. I've made a number of crosses between these plants, hoping for orange flowers with purple spots. but usually what I get is pale cream-colored flowers with mottled markings in the center, as you'll see below. The markings are undistinguished, which is a surprise because the hybrid is half atropunctata. You’d think it would have a bunch of spots on it.

MM 11-56a. Note how wide the tepals are here compared to the next two flowers.

MM 11-56b. This is my favorite of the three. I like the long inner tepals, twisted like wrought iron swords.

MM 11-56c. Similar to its siblings; the flower looks more white because this photo was taken at night in artificial light.



Moraea MM 11-146

Seed parent:  Moraea MM 03-05a
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 03-98c

Pedigree: (aristata x (atropunctata x neopavonia)) X (atropunctata x calcicola)

This one is special because it’s the only offspring I’ve ever gotten from MM 03-05a, a flower that looks like a pale yellow M. aristata. That hybrid is very vigorous, but its anthers are little dried-up sticks with no pollen, and although I have tried dozens of crosses on it, only one of them ever set a single viable seed. That seed grew into this plant.

The flower is very difficult to photograph. The tepals are a very pale shade of orange, with very pale purple veins on them. As you can see in the photographs here, to photograph the orange color you have to underexpose the rest of the flower. In person, the colors are subtle but distinct.

The center of the flower is pale orange. Overall, the flower is elegant and understated. Or maybe I just feel that way because it was so darned hard to breed.

MM 11-146a



Moraea MM 11-122

Seed parent: Moraea MM 99-00a
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 03-05c

Pedigree: (atropunctata x neopavonia) X (aristata x (atropunctata x neopavonia))

There’s not much to say about this hybrid. It is mostly cream-colored, with a pale yellow center and extremely long inner tepals.

MM 11-122a


Moraea MM 11-50

Seed parent: Moraea MM 03-98c (atropunctata calcicola)
Pollen parent: Moraea MM 03-05c (aristata X (atropunctata neopavonia))

This is a very complex hybrid combining four species. One parent is light orange, while the other is light purple.

Compare this flower with MM 11-66 and MM 11-82.

MM 11-50a. This flower is cream-colored, with a bit of yellow in the center, and very dense purple spots on the backs of the tepals. The spots are so intense that they show through the front of the tepals a bit, making them look slightly mottled. There are also a couple of little purple color flecks on the upper surface of the tepals.

You get the feeling that this plant is on the verge of turning polka-dotted all over. I crossed it with some other semi-spotted flowers; we’ll see what happens.

One of the best features of this plant is the incredibly long sword-shaped inner tepals, in pale yellow freckled with purple.


MM 11-50b. This one is white, with a nice blue eye and a few spots on the front of the tepals. I long to cross this one with its sibling form a, but I need them to bloom in the same year, which has yet to happen as of 2015.

Moraea MM 11-158

Seed parent: Moraea MM 03-98b
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa form a

Pedigree: (atropunctata x calcicola) X villosa form a (purple tepals, blue eye, orange center)

Moraea villosa often dominates the appearance of flowers where it’s one of the parents, and this is a great example. If MM 03-98b were not the seed parent, I would assume this was a self-pollinated villosa. It’s hard to see what, if anything, MM 03-98b contributed to this plant. Maybe the tepals are a bit fuller than the usual villosa.


MM 11-158a


Moraea MM 11-41

Seed parent: Moraea 03-98c
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa form b (purple tepals, blue eye, yellow center)

Pedigree: (atropunctata x calcicola) X villosa form b

This cross looks mostly like villosa, as commonly happens when that species is involved. But the central cup has the atropunctata look from its seed parent, and the eye is very dark blue. I also like the pale ring around the eye.

Overall, this plant has a clean streamlined look that I like, even though the colors are not spectacular.



MM 11-41a

Moraea MM 11-24

Seed parent: Moraea villosa form A (purple tepals, blue eye, orange center)
Pollen parent: Moraea gigandra

Nothing about this flower looks at all like M. gigandra, so I wonder if it might be a selfed version of M. villosa. The bees work over M. villosa pretty thoroughly, so self-pollination is always a potential problem. On the other hand, M. villosa often dominates first generation crosses, so it could be that the gigandra genes are hiding in the background.

The flowers have more prominent veins and a darker eye than the seed parent.

I’ve made several other crosses with these same parents, so I’ll have to wait and see if they all look the same.


MM 11-24a



Moraea MM 10-39

Seed parent: Moraea aristata
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa “with blue-green eye” (probably villosa c)

As has happened with other crosses between villosa and aristata, the flowers look mostly like a larger version of villosa. The tepals are almost pure white.

MM 10-39a has a blue eye and orange center.


MM 10-39b has a lemon yellow center and a blue eye edged in purple on the outside. Form B is the closest I’ve come to getting the aristata eye pattern on a larger flower, so I’m doing more breeding with it.