Herbertia 1985
Australian Hippeastrum Hybridization
Warren J Glover

Earlwood, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

It was with some anticipation that I awaited the flowering this summer of two hybridizations made in 1981. The first was a miniature, Hippeastrum sp. 1525 X H. (EAE). The scape came from a bulb less than 2cm in diameter. The flower exhibits the narrow segments of H. sp. 1525 and the superior shape of H. (EAE). A hybrid midway between H. flammigerum and H. blossfeldiae was anticipated. Two seedlings flowered, but no significant difference between them was detected. The bulbs off-set well, and a single pot would produce dozens of flowers simultaneously.

The second, from superior parents, naturally produced superior flowers. H. neopardinum X H. doraniae gave rise to some wonderful pinks. About eight clones flowered in colors from very hot pink to bright lighter pink. None had the pale chartreuse ground color of H. neopardinum. Several are outstanding for primary hybrids and one, A905, is a full star-shaped flower with wider segments than H. neopardinum that overlap as on H. doraniae. The diameter is about 18cm.

This season, of 178 Hippeastrum cross pollinations, 93 aborted, 64 have been harvested and 21 remain to be harvested as of December 12, 1994.

Amaryllis organensis
var compressa
My biggest disappointment has been the refusal of H. escobaruriae to set seed; however, it flowered in early September, so I had to use pollen that had been stored for 10 - 12 months. This species is very attractive. Of three seedlings, only one has flowered. H. correiense failed to accept its own pollen. This plant, while a good red, is similar to H. aulicum in shape. Unlike H. aulicum, though, it flowers in mid to late September. H. correiense pollen was rejected by H. correiense var. compressa, which I found to be strange for two supposedly closely related taxa. As a parent, my hybrid of H. neopardinum X H. doraniae was a failure. Particularly disapppointing was the rejection of H. fuscum by two clones and rejection also of H. traubii forma doranianum. While H. neopardinum has generally been quite receptive, it chose to refuse pollen of H. brasilianium. This is a cross I would very much like to make, so despite the disparity of blooming times, I have stored plenty of H. brasilianum pollen.

What I consider to be the most interesting successes include H. fuscum X H. (neopardinum X yungacense). The markings on flowers of these species are similar, but shapes vary. The depth and brightness of the reds are comparable, though they are of a different hue. H. neopardinum X H. yungacense accepted pollen of H. fuscum to complete the reciprocal cross, but rejected pollen of H. brasilianum. H. correiense X H. correiense var. compressa was more a casual effort as the flowers are not similar but just happened to flower at the same time. To an observer such as I am, there seems to be no reason for these plants to share the same specific epithet, and their relationship appears all the stranger when one accepts the pollen of the other but the reciprocal aborts. H. correiense was the seed parent also with H. neopardinum. The progeny will be a bold red and green. H. neopardinum seems to be dominant for its bright red/pink striations. The reciprocal aborted. Again as a seed parent, H. correiense took pollen from H. neopardinum X H. doraniae (A905). I hope in the cross the green throat and keels will be suppressed, but this rarely happens. The reciprocal cross aborted. H. vittatum var. tweedianum X H. (doraniae X fragrantissimum) has promise because the seed parent has pale pink striations on a white background. This flower is larger and more open than the pollen parent. Of the six different H. doraniae X H. fragrantissimum hybrids, only two exhibit any trace of pink. lt will be interesting to see what effect the pale H. vittatum var. tweedianum will exert in this cross. Another test of the pure white H. doraniae X H. fragrantissimum will be the crossing with H. traubii forma doranianum with the latter as the seed parent. This little pink is one of the most graceful and elegant miniatures. The same cross was effected with two different parents but the reciprocals aborted. H. neopardinum is a relatively good seed parent, accepting pollen from two different clones of H. traubii forma doranianum. Comparison of these with A905 and its siblings will be interesting. Other pollen donors to H. neopardinum were H. stylosum, which should soften the bold star shape and strengthen the striations. In 1981, when I made the first H. neopardinum X H. doraniae cross, the reciprocal aborted, but this year both hybridizations have produced good seed capsules. H. doraniae has accepted H. stylosum pollen, which will combine two different shapes. The reciprocal aborted. H. doraniae was a successful donor of pollen to H. x Mañanita, and in return accepted pollen from H. neopardinum X H. yungacense. This combination of bright dark red and bright pink should produce some eye-catching colors in three years. The untiring H. doraniae has also produced seed in a cross with H. blossfeldiae. This is the only species other than H. anzaldoii that I have found compaitible with H. blossfeldiae.

I am still searching for another species compatible with the charming H. flammigerum. A back-cross of A905 to H. doraniae has produced a capsule. With that last cross-pollination I am allowing my three pots of H. doraniae to rest.

One of the brightest events this spring was the flowering for the first time, in September, 1984, of H. brasilianum. For a species, H. brasilianum is breathtaking. Indeed, it is the largest flower I have seen on a Hippeastrum species, and has a most heady gardenia-like fragrance. The flower is a white trumpet 18cm long and 13cm wide. The throat shades creamy yellow to green, deep in the throat. Two scapes produced four flowers. A few wrinkled seeds came from a pollination with H. (doraniae X fragrantissimum) clone A517. The A517 pollen had been stored since March, 1984. Sphagnum moss proved to be a good planting medium in my experience. Some very old, dessicated seed of H. calyptratum X H. (papilio X fragrantissimum) and X H. (doraniae X fragrantissimum) germinated very well. With this experience in mind, I am planting seed of these hybrids in sphagnum moss.

H. brasilianum pollen was daubed on eleven different stigmas with poor results. Eight aborted, but seed was harvested from H. (papilio X fragrantissimum) and capsules are forming on H. x Mañanita and H. (parodi #1315 X aglaiae). The latter is a seedling, flowering for the first time. It produced four small yellow trumpets on its single scape. Obtaining quantities of viable seed from H. brasilianum crosses will require a more discriminating and subtle approach than flinging valuable pollen on everything that has a stigma.

That delightful little yellow H. x Mañanita, accepted pollen from H. brasilianum, H. neopardinum and H. doraniae; three capsules are forming nicely. Like H. brasilianum, H. x Mañanita is very choosy, and would accept no pollen on previous occasions. It will be interesting to see the results of the mating in about three years.

There are now four cream/yellows in the collection: 1) H. evansiae (clone A707), 2) Cothran's hybrid #339, 3) H. x Mañanita, 4). (parodi #1315 X aglaiae-clone A533). I have not found any compatibility between these taxa. However, with improved pollen storage facilities I hope to attempt every combination, and include H. brasilianum among them.