Sunday, January 8, 2017

Moraea MM 12-52

Seed parent: Moraea speciosa
Pollen parent: Moraea polystacha

The parents:

Moraea polystachya is a blue Iris-shaped flower that blooms vigorously for many months but that (so far) won't cross with the Peacock Moraea species. Moraea speciosa is a desert species that's hard to bloom in my climate. It has large cup-shaped flowers. My photo here is of a semi-double chimera; to see the usual flowers check the PBS listing here.

The shapes of these two flowers are so different that you wouldn't think they even belonged in the same genus, but Prof. Goldblatt, in his book on the Moraeas, reported that they had been successfully crossed. I couldn't find any photos of Moraea speciosa x polystachya online, so I decided to try the cross myself. It worked.

MM 12-52b. As usual with species hybrids, the flower is roughly midway between two two parents. The flowers have the flat face of M. speciosa, and some of the color pattern of M. polystachya. The leaves don't have the curliness of M. speciosa, and the plants tend to flop over (which sometimes happens to M. polystachya when it's reaching for the sun). They bloom in mid-winter (January here), a little later than M. polystachya.

This flower had a reasonable amount of pollen, so I selfed the flower and saved the rest of the pollen for breeding experiments.

MM 12-52a. The look of this particular flower is unspectacular.  It was translucent and held low in the sepals, making it hard for the flower to open fully.

The first two photos were taken at night, when I came home from work and spotted the open flower. There was a rainstorm due, so I did my best to take a clear flash photo. As you can see, one of the inner tepals was curled over. I held it back in the second photo.

The photos below were taken the following morning, after the rain. These are closer to the true color of the flower, but as you can see the flower did not stand up well to the rain.

Here are the plants (which have been wired up because they were flopping).

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