Chronicle 106: 283 (Sept 4, 1939)
Vallota Purpurea Hybrids
|Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society p. ccxxxviii (1902)
J. Colman, Esq., Gatton Park, Reigate (gr. Mr. W. Bound), sent a flowering specimen of Vallota purpurea named Vallota-crinum gattonensis, stated to be a cross between Vallota purpurea and Crinum Moorei, but the Committee could discern little, if any, evidence of the cross having been effective.
Mr. Hudson raised interest on March 8, 1910, by exhibiting before the same Committee two seedlings, claiming that the female parent was an Amaryllis and the male Vallota purpurea. The present writer assumes that the Amaryllis was of the greenhouse hybrid type sometimes called Hippeastrum, and not our Cape Callicore rosea, Link (Amaryllis belladonna of gardens). The Committee expressed doubt regarding the male parent, and suggested that self-pollination might show more clearly in the F1 generation the influence of the Vallota. In passing, I may observe that similar doubt had been expressed when Sir (then Mr.) Jeremiah Colman showed the Floral Committee, on November 12, 1901, a specimen of Vallota-Crinum gattonensis, a reputed cross between Vallota purpurea and Crinum Moorei.
Particularly interesting are the references to hybrids between Vallota and Hippeastrum. On April 2, 1907, the R.H.S. Scientific Committee saw a plant stated by Mr. H. J. Chapman to be the result of the pollenation of V. purpurea with a purple-flowered Hippeastrum, this having foliage similar to Vallota (although at the flowering stage only just beginning to appear; and large, white flowers with "a broad, greenish median vein." This white-flowered plant was one of three out of a batch of two hundred others from this cross, the rest having scarlet flowers. Mr. Chapman had tried the reverse cross, but in that case the Hippeastrum had set no seeds.
In the R.H.S. Journal, Vol. XXXII, June, 1907, there is a brief statement that on April 17, 1906, "Norman C. Cookson, Esq., Wylam-on-Tyne, sent Hippe-Vallota oakwoodiensis." In the R.H.S. Journal, Vol. XXXIII, Part 1, January, 1908, this plant is referred to as Hippe-Vallota oakwoodiense var. album, in the report of it as exhibited before the Floral Committee on April 3, 1907, by Mr. Cookson. One parent is stated to have been a white-flowered Hippeastrum and the other Vallota purpurea. The hybrid had pure white flowers, with a greenish tone down the middle of each petal.
Mr. A. Worsley had some doubt about these Vallota-Hippeastrum crosses, and expressed his views in the R.H.S. Journal, Vol. XXXVI, Part 3, May, 1911. Briefly, Mr. Worsley had found that in three out of four instances of progeny of Hippeastrum and Vallota examined by him, the result was virtually Hippeastrum rutilum, which he regarded as the oldest and most primitive species in the genus. Mr. Worsley quotes both Mr. Hudson's hybrids and the cross made by Mr. Chapman, with the statement that Mr. Chapman claimed to have used Vallota as the female parent with the pollen of a garden Hippeastrum, and yet the seedlings were definitely Hippeastrum rutilum and no result was obtained from the reverse cross. It is possible that Mr. Chapman was wrong, and if so it is easier to understand Mr. Worsley's suggestion that these crosses may have yielded parthenogenetic offspring due to irritation caused by the attempted hybridization. Mr. Worsley was obviously puzzled by H. rutilum arising from a cross in which V. purpurea was claimed to have been the female parent.
I do not know what Mr. Worsley's opinion is to-day, after a lapse of nearly thirty years, but it is clear from even a superficial consideration of hybridization among Amaryllids that certain genera show an ability to mate, coupled with strict selectivity in their mating. Another interesting point connected with South African members of the Amaryllidaceae is that they rarely, if ever, produce bigeneric hybrids "in the wild." Moreover, inasmuch as the greenhouse hybrid Hippeastrums are of purely South American stock, it is important to note that South American and South African Amaryllids show no tendency to cross one with the other, and the present writer believes he is correct in stating that no proved hybrids between species from the two continents have yet been raised. If this is an error of fact, a correction would be appreciated. In passing, attention may also be drawn to the dates upon which the true and supposed hybrids from Vallota have been exhibited, from which it is possible to infer if not to disprove. For those who have the time, a close study of the peculiarities of hybridization in this family could be a work of absorbing interest.