The Clematis as a Garden Flower pp. 15-17 (1872)

Thomas Moore, George Jackman

Some of the most startling results of hybridization, as to the size of the flowers, have been obtained by Mr. Anderson-Henry, in a set of recent hybrids which has passed into Messrs. Lawson's hands. One of these, C. Lawsoniana, occasionally bears flowers upwards of nine inches across. The other varieties, named C. Henryi and C. Symesiana, also rank amongst the large-flowered sorts of well-filled outline. Mr. Anderson-Henry has been good enough to communicate some particulars of the history of these plants, which, as it must be of much interest to hybridizers, we here transcribe:—

"The varieties above named belong to the lanuginosa type, Clematis lanuginosa being the seed-bearer, and C. Fortunei the male parent. Some of the seedlings, also in Messrs. Lawson's hands, flower early; but others, to which group those announced, and which are mentioned above belong, do not bloom before August, and go on till November or later. In fact, I have them under glass flowering now (January 18).

"As to size, they average from four or five to eight or nine inches diameter, but this last size is the extreme: a bloom of C. Lawsoniana, a large-flowered variety, has indeed attained nine and a half inches.

*This does not accord with our experience at Woking, the variety referred to being particularly liable to assume a weakly habit of growth.

"As to colour of the flowers, there is something to me wholly inexplicable in all this lanuginosa-Fortunei brood; for while the seed-bearer C. lanuginosa has pale lilac flowers, and C. Fortunei, the male parent, has pure white semi-double blossoms, those of some of their progeny deepen into blue or azure, banded sometimes with darker shades, in which a tint of rose comes up. How they should have any shade of blue at all, and still more how they should have darker-shaded bands, is utterly unaccountable to me from all the experience I have had, unless I should be right in an assumption which has been forced upon me, namely, that C. Fortunei is a white-flowered seedling variety of a blue-flowered species—perhaps of C. John Gould Veitch, these being, so far as I remember, much alike in their general habit, foliage, and inflorescence, even to the semi-double flowers which both possess. The latter is, no doubt, the more vigorous in growth,* and it has its flowers larger and more double than those of C. Fortunei—consequences natural enough, if I am right in this assumption: just as occurred in the white-flowered seedling sport from the lovely blue-flowered Salvia patens, which never had the vigour of the original form. My theory is that the sport will sometimes retrogress. I had proof of this in that same white Salvia, the seeds of which I sowed, when the seedlings went back into the species, but having flowers of a paler blue. In this way I think I can account for many of those varieties already put out, derived, I assume, from much the same parentage as mine, having the size, colouring, and banding all so different from their parents; for in all my efforts with this tribe—and I began with it, I believe, first in this country, the seeds of my hybrid, C. reginae (C. azurea grandiflora x C. lanuginosa) having been sown in 1855, long before C. Jackmanni, the next, I think, in order, was heard of—in all these efforts, and I have been working on it ever since, I could reckon with some confidence as to the colours to be produced by crossing, till in this last case I felt bewildered. Now it is very notable that though a white-flowered sport may go back in its seedlings to its original blue-flowered species, the white may be fixed, or at least reproduced in the offspring. Hence I have from seeds of the same head, not only the blue and azure-flowered varieties above noticed, but the pure-white or creamy-white C. Henryi, and others not yet announced.

"As to the number of the sepals, these vary even in the same group. In that just noticed (lanuginosa-Fortunei), there are generally six to eight in each flower. To my taste these should stand out straight from the disk, neither incurving nor reflexing.

"Besides the above group I have other crosses, but in all of them the element of size, now so much regarded, falls far short of the approved standard. Thus, in a seedling of C. lanuginosa candida x C. Jackmanni, the pollen of which last had been previously stored for eleven months, the flowers, which were of a pretty blue, and six-sepaled, were only three and a half inches in diameter, though C. candida, of French origin, has very large flowers. So from another cross, my hybrid C. reginae crossed with C. rubro-violacea, I have a seedling bearing flowers of a pale purple, six-sepaled as in the seed-bearer, and flowering from May to December in great profusion, but the flowers are equally small.

"I wrought hard to infuse the rich colour of Mr. Jackman's seedlings into hybrids having larger flowers, by crossing them with all the large-flowered varieties I possessed, but failed; and when I inverted the cross by making them the male parents, the seedlings all came deficient in size, as taste now rules."

Anderson-Henry Bibliography