Monday, May 25, 2015

Hybridizing Moraea Species: 2015 Status

The list below shows Moraea species crosses I've attempted as of spring 2015. As you'll see, I have focused mostly on the very colorful "peacock" Moraea species and their relatives (technically, subgenus Vieusseuxia). There are more than 40 species in the subgenus, but I've been able to obtain and grow only about 15 of them so far (if you know how to get the others, please let me know).

I have also experimented with crossing a few other flowers in other parts of the genus.

Let's start with a summary chart of the Vieusseuxia crosses:


Here's what I think I've learned so far: Most of the Vieusseuxia species that I've tested are willing to cross with each other. The big exception is M. lurida, which appears to be pretty reluctant to cross with anything else. It may be willing to cross with M. bellendenii.

My most surprising result, which isn't shown in the chart, is that I've been able to cross a species in subgenus Homeria with Moraea villosa (you'll find a link to that cross in the list below). I didn't expect the cross to work, and it opens up a number of other interesting possibilities.


More details on the crosses. The list below shows every cross that produced seed. In the notes, "not viable" means the seeds looked at least marginally good enough to plant, but the seeds either did not sprout, or the seedlings died.

Homeria sp. (probably M. flaccida) X
     villosa. 1 bloomed: MM 11-91.

Moraea aristata X
     atropunctata. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     bellendenii. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     calcicola. 1 cross, successful: MM 03-04.
     gigandra. 2 crosses. 1 not viable, 1 bloomed: MM 11-28.
     longiaristata (?). 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 1 cross, bloomed: MM 09-01.
     lurida. 1 cross, not viable.
     neopavonia. 4 crosses, 2 not viable, 2 not yet bloomed.
     tripetala. 1 cross, not viable.
     tulbaghensis. 3 crosses, all viable. 1 has bloomed: MM 10-37.
     villosa. 9 crosses, 8 viable. 3 have bloomed: MM 09-02, MM 10-39, MM 11-19.

Moraea atropunctata X
     aristata. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     bellendenii. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     calcicola. 1 cross, bloomed: MM 03-98.
     gigandra. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     neopavonia (?). 1 cross, bloomed: MM 99-00.
     tripetala. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     tulbaghensis. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     villosa. 2 crosses. 1 not viable, 1 has not yet bloomed.

Moraea bellendenii X
     aristata. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     longiaristata (?). 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     lurida. 2 crosses. 1 not viable, 1 has not yet bloomed.
     neopavonia. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     tripetala. 1 cross, seed not viable.
     villosa. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.

Moraea calcicola X
     neopavonia. 1 cross, waiting for germination.

Moraea collina (yellow) X
     elegans. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea elegans X
     flaccida (orange and yellow form). 1 cross, seed not viable.
     collina (yellow). 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea fergusoniae. I tried for a couple of years to cross this species with the Vieusseuxia Moraeas, but had zero success.

Moraea flaccida X
     polystachya. 1 cross, turned out to be self-pollinated M. flaccida.
     elegans. 1 cross, turned out to be M. flaccida.

Moraea gigandra X
     aristata. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     atropunctata. 3 crosses, 2 viable, have not yet bloomed.
     bellendenii. 3 crosses. 2 not viable, 1 has not yet bloomed.
     calcicola. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     collina (?). 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     lurida. 1 cross, did not set seed.
     neopavonia. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     tripetala. 1 cross, not viable.
     tulbaghensis. 3 crosses, all viable. 1 bloomed: MM 10-04.
     villosa. 9 crosses, 8 viable. 1 has bloomed: MM 11-17.

Moraea longiaristata (?) X
     aristata. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     calcicola. 1 cross, not viable.
     neopavonia. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     villosa. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea loubseri X
     atropunctata. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     gigandra, 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     neopavonia. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     tripetala. 1 cross, not viable.
     tulbaghensis. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     villosa. 3 crosses, 1 viable, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea lurida X
     fergusoniae. 1 cross, not viable.
     neopavonia. 2 crosses, 1 not viable. 1 has not yet bloomed (high risk of self-pollination).
     tripetala. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed (high risk of self-pollination).
     tulbaghensis. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed. High risk of self-pollination.
     villosa. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed. High risk of self-pollination.
Note: In my area, M. lurida is aggressively pollinated by flies. In my early crosses I didn't realize this, and did not protect the flowers from self-pollination or cross-pollination from other M. lurida. I have since tried to re-create the same crosses while protecting the plants from flies, and there has been almost zero seed set. So I suspect the earlier crosses, but I will not know for sure until they bloom.

Moraea neopavonia X
     aristata. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     atropunctata. 3 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     calcicola. 2 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     gigandra. 3 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 3 crosses, 1 not viable, 2 have not yet bloomed.
     tripetala. 2 crosses, 1 not viable, 1 has not yet bloomed.
     tulbaghensis. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     villosa. 6 crosses, all viable, 1 has bloomed: MM 03-99.

Moraea polystachya X
     aristata. 1 cross, not viable.
     atropunctata. 1 cross, not viable.
I've made many other attempts to cross M. polystachya with the Peacocks, but didn't bother to write them down after it became clear that they were all failures. I still try occasionally,  because it would be great to get peacock colors on this very vigorous plant. Alas, I think it's not to be.

Moraea speciosa X
     polystachya. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea thomasiae. I just got this species to bloom, and tried my first pollination experiments with it. It's too early to say anything about the results.

Moraea tricolor X
     macronyx. 2 crosses. 1 not viable, 1 bloomed: MM 12-143.

Moraea tripetala X
     aristata. 3 crosses, have not yet bloomed.
     bellendenii. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     calcicola. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     gigandra. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     loubseri. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     neopavonia. 2 crosses, neither has yet bloomed.
     tulbaghensis. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.
     villosa. 4 crosses, none have bloomed yet.

Moraea tulbaghensis X
     atropunctata. 2 crosses, not yet bloomed.
     longiaristata (?). 1 cross, not viable.
     loubseri. 2 crosses, not viable.
     tripetala. 1 cross, not viable.
     villosa. 9 crosses. 2 not viable, 6 not yet bloomed, 1 bloomed: MM 11-72.

Moraea vegeta X
     macronyx. 1 cross, has not yet bloomed.

Moraea villosa X
     aristata. 3 crosses. 1 not viable, 1 not yet bloomed, 1 bloomed: MM 11-31.
     atropunctata. 4 crosses. 1 not viable, 3 not yet bloomed
     bellendenii. Two crosses, not yet bloomed
     calcicola. 3 crosses. 1 not viable, 2 not yet bloomed
     gigandra. 6 crosses. 3 not viable, 2 not yet bloomed, 1 bloomed: MM 11-24.
     homeria sp. 3 crosses, not yet bloomed
     longiaristata (?). 1 cross, not yet bloomed
     loubseri. 4 crosses. 2 not viable, 2 not yet bloomed
     lurida. 1 cross, not viable
     neopavonia. 5 crosses. 4 not viable, 1 not yet bloomed
     tripetala. 5 crosses. 3 not viable, 2 not yet bloomed
     tulbaghensis. 17 crosses. 2 not viable, 13 not yet bloomed, 2 bloomed: MM 11-140, MM 10-02.
Note: In case you're wondering why I made so many crosses with M. villosa, it's because there are so many color forms of that species.

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Moraea Hybrids, 2015

Highlights from 2015:
  -Moraea X Homeria
  -Long eyelashes
  -Yellow emerges again
  -The pumpkin Moraea

I'm experimenting with hybridizing the genus Moraea. Most of my focus is on the "Peacock" species and their relatives (technically subgenus Vieusseuxia), although I sometimes dabble in others. These are my 2015 results. I'm an amateur, and welcome your advice and feedback.

In addition to the hybrids, I grow just about every winter-growing species of Moraea that I can get my hands on. I'd love to correspond and share plant material with anyone else who’s growing Moraea species or hybrids. 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.

Here are my favorite new hybrids from 2015:

MM 11-91 (Probably Moraea flaccida X M. villosa form a)
This is a hybrid between Moraea villosa and one of the plants in subgenus Homeria (probably Moraea flaccida). I didn't think it was possible to cross them, and as you can see the flowers are very distinctive looking.


MM 11-15c (Moraea villosa form b X (neopavonia x villosa) )
I like the intense yellow ring around the eye, and the reddish zone where the purple and yellow overlap.


MM 11-19a  (Moraea aristata X villosa form a)
A nice dark ring around the blue eye, with a few dark rays radiating out from it like eyelashes. I've never gotten streaks quite like these from any other hybrid.


MM 11-30b ( (M. aristata x calcicola) X  (atropunctata x neopavonia) )
There are yellow Moraea species, but I wasn't growing any of them when I made this cross. It's the offspring of an orange flower and a pale purple one. How that makes yellow, I have no idea. But I'm glad it did. A similar-looking hybrid appeared in 2009, but the corms all died the year after they bloomed. I've been hoping for another yellow ever since.


MM 11-140a. (M. villosa form b  X M. tulbaghensis with blue eye)
Most of the villosa X tulbaghensis crosses look roughly like this, but I like the nice clear colors of this one.


MM 11-165a ( (atropunctata x calcicola) X (atropunctata x calcicola) )
Kind of a snow white version of M. atropunctata. It's not spectacular, but I think it's elegant.


MM 12-125a ( (aristata x (atropunctata x neopavonia) ) X  atropunctata )
This is my first 2012 hybrid to bloom, and I really like it. The bright orange center and icy white tepals remind me of a white-skinned pumpkin.


For more information. About 30 new crosses bloomed for me in 2015. You can see listings for each of them in the 2015 archive at right.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Moraea MM 11-106

Seed parent: MM 03-98a (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: Unknown

I thought maybe this plant had self-pollinated (very rare for the Moraea plants I grow). But looking at the flowers, it's pretty clearly a hybrid with something else.

MM 11-106a.

MM 11-106b.

Moraea MM 11-88

Seed parent: Moraea villosa form a
Pollen parent: Moraea (formerly Homeria) flaccida or ochroleuca (orange form)

Given the way this flower looks, I think it's almost certainly an accidental cross with another M. villosa, facilitated by a bee. I'll try to keep an open mind until its siblings bloom.

MM 11-88a. Compare this to MM 11-91, which is a definite Moraea X Homeria cross.

Moraea MM 12-125

Seed parent: MM 03-05b (aristata X (atropunctata x neopavonia))

Pollen parent: Moraea atropunctata













These plants are very vigorous, offsetting quickly and crowding together so closely that it's hard for me to identify which corm is which when they are dormant:


Here are three forms I've picked out so far:

MM 12-125a. I was trying for an orange flower with spots, but instead I got this white flower with a precise bright orange center bordered in black, and spots on the backs of the tepals. I'm very happy with it. Because of the colors, this cross reminds me of a white-skinned pumpkin. Usually when I look at one of my hybrids, I think of features I'd like to change. But in this case, I like the flower just the way it is.

I'm very intrigued by the rosy color in the style crests, which are especially prominent in this photo. Compare this to the white crests in form C.


MM 12-125b. This one is orange.

MM 12-125c. A much larger eye than form A, and fewer spots on the back. THe style crests are mostly white..

Moraea MM 11-169

Seed parent: MM 99-00b (atropunctata X neopavonia)
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa form a

I don't know what to think about this one. This is an orange flower crossed with a purple one with blue eyes. Usually villosa crosses look a lot like villosa, and crosses with MM 99-00 come out orange. But this hybrid is a bit like a whitish form of MM 99-00. I need to do more work with this cross.

MM 11-169a. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo.

Moraea MM 11-165

Seed parent: MM 03-98a (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98c (atropunctata X calcicola)

An F2 between two siblings that are pale violet with purple spots. This one is my favorite F2 from this cross, because the flowers are almost pure white.

MM 11-165a.


Moraea MM 11-156

Seed parent: MM 03-04a (aristata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa form b

A cross between a white flower with dark center and a purple flower with blue eye and yellow center. As often happens with villosa crosses, this one looks a lot like villosa itself. But villosa was the pollen parent, so I'm sure this is a genuine hybrid.

MM 11-156a.

Moraea MM 11-141

Seed parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata calcicola)

I haven't had much luck self-pollinating Moraeas, but according to my records that's what this one is. I like some of the variations I got here.

MM 11-141a. Not too spectacular.

MM 11-141b. This one is almost pure white, with a bit of orange in the middle. I think it looks elegant. I'd like to see if I can get one that's pure white in the middle.

MM 11-141c. Like form b, but but a bit darker in the center. I like this one too.

Moraea MM 11-140

Seed parent: Moraea villosa form b
Pollen parent: Moraea tulbaghensis with blue eye

A purple flower with blue eye crossed with an orange flower with blue eye. As usual for this cross, the flower is orange. I like the brightness of the eye color in this one. (For a similar cross, see MM 11-72a.)

MM 11-140a.

Moraea MM 11-137

Seed parent: MM 99-00a (atropunctata X neopavona)
Pollen parent: Moraea tulbaghensis

Really? This was a cross between an orange flower with a dark center and an orange flower with a brightly colored eye. I wasn't sure what to expect from it, but I thought it would have a more colorful eye. I'll have to do more breeding to figure out what's going on.

MM 11-137a. The flowers are cup-shaped, and if you look closely you can see that the anthers are longer then the style crests. Those are both M. tulbaghensis characteristics, so maybe this is a genuine cross. I like how the orange color intensifies toward the center of the flower.


Moraea MM 11-132

Seed parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: Moraea aristata

I crossed a purple spotted flower with a white one that has a bright blue eye, hoping for a flower with a blue eye and spots.

MM 11-132a. This plant got beaten up by the weather, so I can't really say how it'll look in future years. The eye is not as big as I hoped. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, which was taken at night.)

Moraea MM 11-116

Seed parent: MM 99-00b (atropunctata X neopavonia)
Pollen parent: MM 99-00a (atropunctata X neopavonia)

An F2 cross between orange siblings. I once got a bright yellow flower from this cross, but mostly they're orange with some central black markings, like this one.

MM 11-116a. I like the precise look of the dots in this one. It's as if someone had used a technical pen on it.


Moraea MM 11-111

Seed parent: MM 03-04a (aristata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: MM 03-99 (neopavonia X villosa)

This one crosses a pale purple flower that has a dark center with a bright orange one having a dark center. No surprise, the centers of the offspring are dark. But with three very colorful grandparents, I was hoping for some interesting colors in the tepals. So far they're pretty pale.

MM 11-111a. Looks a bit like the seed parent with some orange added to the center.

MM 11-111b. Looks very much like the seed parent, on a bad hair day.

Moraea MM 11-92

Seed parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98c (atropunctata X calcicola)

Another "F2" cross between two siblings. I'm starting to get some interesting results, but the nicest one died, alas.

MM 11-92a. Reminiscent of the pollen parent (MM 03-98c), but the dots are more spread out across the tepals, the tepals themselves are whiter, and the dots on the backs of them are wider. This looks a bit like a purple version of M. atropunctata, which is pretty cool. I think this one is worth some further breeding.

MM 11-92b. Looks a lot like the parents.


MM 11-92c. Similar to 03-98b, but the center is lighter in color.


MM 11-92d. The flower looked pale pink when seen in person. At the center was a thin light purple ring around a burnt orange cup. This was a very nice-looking little flower. Unfortunately, it had only a single bloom, set no seeds, and then the corm died. So this is the only record that it existed. I'll keep trying.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Moraea MM 11-90

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

A pale purple flower with spots, crossed with a medium orange flower that has dark centers. The result was a couple of pale-colored flowers.

MM 11-90a. This one's pale peach, darker toward the center.

MM 11-90b. Light yellow, with the color stronger in the center.

Moraea MM 11-78

Seed parent: MM 03-98c (atropunctata X calcicola)
Pollen parent: MM 03-98b (atropunctata calcicola)

The professional hybridizers say you're supposed to cross a hybrid with itself to bring out the recessive genes, but I've found that very few Moraea self-crosses work for me. The next best thing is to hybridize two siblings from the same cross, which is what I did here.

MM 11-78a. So much for recessives. This cross looks about like its parents, but the colors are all lighter.

MM 11-78b. Darker colors, but nothing special.


Moraea MM 11-72

Seed parent: Moraea tulbaghensis with blue eye
Pollen parent: Moraea villosa form a

As usual for a cross between these two species, the flowers are orange. But what caught my attention was the brightness of the blue eye. Usually the eye in these crosses is relatively dark, sometimes with a metallic sheen to it. But in this case, the eye is a very striking light blue. It's even more attention-grabbing in person than it is in the photo.

MM 11-72a. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this one during the day, so you're stuck with a night photo. It threw off the color balance a bit, but at least you can see how bright the eye is.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Moraea MM 11-65

Seed parent: MM 03-07b (atropunctata x neopavonia) X villosa
Pollen parent: Moraea tulbaghensis with blue eye

The seed parent is pale orange with a huge blue eye. M. tulbaghensis has a similar color scheme, but is darker orange and has a smaller eye. I think I was hoping for a bright orange flower with a huge blue eye.

MM 11-65a. I'm partway there. The flower's darker orange than the seed parent, but a bit lighter than I'd prefer. And M. tulbaghensis has made the flower a bit cupped and small. But I think this one is worth further breeding..

These seedlings from the same cross, grown by Garry Knipe, have more vivid blue eyes than the flower above:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Moraea MM 11-58

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

The seed parent is blue with a yellow eye, while the pollen parent is pale violet with purple spots on the tepals.

When I made this cross, I wanted to get something with the bright blue eye of M. aristata, but with spots all over the tepals. I haven't quite hit the target yet.

MM 11-58a. A few spots on the tepals but the eye is dark purple, almost black. This one looks like a modified version of the pollen parent..

MM 11-58b. This one looks mostly like the seed parent. The tepals are pale violet instead of white, and there are a few spots, but the spots are in the center of the flower rather than on the tepals.



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Moraea MM 11-42

Seed parent: Moraea aristata
Pollen parent: MM 03-99 (neopavonia X villosa)

This cross mixed a white flower with blue eye with an orange flower with black eye. The result was a small buff flower with blue eye.

MM 11-42a. This looked pretty promising as it opened: a light yellow flower with big blue eye But the flower quickly faded to a dull cream color.


MM 11-42b. Similar to form a, but the flower was small and a little misshapen. That may be due to a heavy hailstorm we had at about the time it bloomed. We'll see how it does next year.