Luther Burbank: Methods and Discoveries (1914) 9: 265-267


It has already been stated that the California species do not cross readily with the foreign species. Nevertheless I have made successful hybridizations many cases.

Among the most interesting of these crosses was one in which the so-called Lily of the Incas (Alstroemeria—not a true lily, having no bulb), of South America, was crossed with the familiar California species (L. pardalinum), already so often referred to.

Of some of these hybrids I raised a large number, and they presented interesting variations.

Some of them, when they bloomed, seemed almost counterparts of the South American parent except that their petals recurved like those of the California lily. Some were spotted like the California parent, and some were quite without spots. As a rule, however, these hybrids, even though producing fairly abundant foliage, did not blossom at all, and at best they were small and insignificant, and within a year or two most of them had disappeared. They seemed to produce inferior bulbs that could not withstand the winter.

As further evidencing the lack of virility of these hybrids, it may be noted that all of them were dwarfs. In striking contrast to hybrids of the pardalinum with other native lilies, none of them grew more than a foot in height and many were not over six inches.

These dwarfs were rendered all the more striking by the fact that the miniature lilies reproduced in many respects the characteristics of their South American parent.