Blue Edged Sweet Pea

'Cherub™ Northern Lights' is a modern
approximation of 'Captain Clarke's Blue-edged'

My first encounter with this variety, and the idea that it resulted from a cross between a white sweet pea and Lord Anson's pea, led me to think that it might be a partial hybrid. When I learned that it actually originated from a cross between the Purple and the Painted Lady, I was still intrigued that such a cross could yield a blue and white picotee. Again, I was misled.

Comparing descriptions, rather than trusting to names, I found that 'Captain Clarke's Blue-edged' eventually came to be known simply as 'Captain Clarke'.

The very different 'Butterfly' was sometimes sold as 'Blue Edged', confusing it with Trevor-Clarke's "hybrid".

Both of these varieties picked up another name or three as the strains were reselected and improved. 'Lottie Eckford', as it was originally, was little different from 'Blue Edge/Capt. Clarke', which is one of the strains Eckford used in breeding. However, the 'New Lottie Eckford', which eventually became the only 'Lottie Eckford', was a somewhat improved 'Butterfly'.

I don't know for sure where "Seedsman" (1897) got the idea that Lord Anson's pea was an ancestor of 'Blue Edge'. I do note that Trevor-Clarke also raised a Blue Primrose.

Gardeners' Chronicle p. 791 (June 19, 1875)
I fear I cannot give your correspondent a clean pedigree for my blue Primrose. Some years ago I crossed a white-stalked Primrose, using the pollen of the old blue, which, though itself sterile, bears fertile pollen. The seedlings were violet, with a decided tinge of the blue, and preserving other resemblances to the pollen-parent. They were fertile, and produced many seedlings much like themselves; finally, they were mixed up with my general stock. Last year I sowed seed from the best of my lot, and the plant in question came up amongst them. It is just a case of old blood coming out after many generations, hardly to be called atavism, which is applied to another and distinct phenomenon in the animal kingdom. The plant is bearing seed. My new double is just the old double lilac on stilts, but with a larger and somewhat handsomer flower. I shall feel happy in corresponding with "J. M.," or in any way assisting him in such matters.—R. Trevor Clarke, Welton Place, near Daventry.

Perhaps "Seedsman", or a friend, mis-remembered this note, and unconsciously replaced "white-stalked" with "white", and "old blue" with "Lord Anson's Blue". These scant details were then superimposed on the 'Captain Clarke's Blue Edged' sweet pea.

Proc. Roy. Hort. Soc. (July 28, 1859)
Capt. Clarke's Blue-edged Sweet Pea:—from Messrs. Carter & Co. A light coloured pink-and-white Sweet Pea, faintly mottled and margined with blue.

Gardeners’ Chronicle. Dec. 10, 1859 p. 990
James Carter & Co.'s List of New Annuals and Perennials for 1860
CAPTAIN CLARKE’S NEW HYBRID SWEET PEA—This beautiful variety is the result of a cross between Painted Lady and Purple Sweet Pea, raised by Captain Trevor Clarke, F.H.S., well known to the floricultural world as a successful hybridiser of plants. The upper petals are of a delicate rose colour, and the lower white, with a deep blue edge.

Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturist 2 (Advertizer's Suppl) (1860)
Ad for Messrs. Hovey & Co.
March p. 3. CLARK'S NEW HYBRID SWEET PEA— upper petals delicate rose; lower white, with a dark blue eye [sic]. 25 cents.
Ad for R. Buist & Son
May p. 3. CAPTAIN CLARKE'S HYBRID SWEET PEA— Upper petals are of a delicate rose color, the lower white with deep blue edge. 25

The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste 15: 6, 247 (May, 1860)
p. 6 CLARK'S NEW HYBRID SWEET PEA—Upper petals of the flowers clear rose-color, and the lower ones white, margined with blue. ......... 25 cents.
p. 247 CAPTAIN CLARKE'S NEW HYBRID SWEET PEA—This beautiful variety is the result of a cross between Painted Lady and Purple Sweet Pea, raised by Capt. Trevor Clarke, F.H.S., well known to the floricultural world as a successful hybridizer of plants; the upper petals are of a delicate rose color, and the lower white with a deep blue edge, .......... 25
Ad for B. K. Bliss, Springfield, Mass.

The New England Farmer 13: 151 (March 1861)
A hybrid sweet pea has been raised by an English florist, Capt. Clarke, being a cross between the "painted lady" and "purple sweet pea." This beautiful variety has upper petals of a delicate rose color, and the lower ones white, with a deep blue edge.—Country Gentleman

[Journal of Horticulture and Practical Gardening 17: 25 (July 8, 1869)
Major Clarke, on again proceeding, referred to the white Lily from Mr. G. F. Wilson, as being probably merely a well-grown plant of Lilium longiflorum, and produced a Lily raised from the seed of the common Martagon, which he supposed had been fertilised with the pollen of the common white garden Lily; likewise Sweet Peas, showing the result of crossing the common purple with the Scarlet Invincible for three generations, and the more it was crossed the darker it became.

Vick's Illustrated Seed Catalogue p. 54 (1871)
Blue Edged, white and pink, edged with blue.

The Garden 6: 174 (August 22, 1874)
The Blue-edged Sweet Pea is a form of the purple, with a margin of blue to the wings; but its character is scarce fixed enough to be regarded as a permanent variety.

The Home Florist Illustrated p. 16 (1874)
Long Brothers' General List of Plants
Sweet Pea: Tricolor, white and red, blue edge, per oz., 20 cts.

[Gardeners' Chronicle p. 791 (June 19, 1875) 
Clarke's Blue Primrose
[CybeRose note: This may be the source of the myth of Lord Anson's pea being a parent of the Blue Edged sweet pea.]

The Garden, 8: 166 (Aug. 21, 1875)
Sweet Peas.— I do not remember ever seeing these grow with more vigour and bloom more profusely than they have done this year. Invincible Scarlet, Captain Clarke, and The Queen ought to find a place in all collections. We have two short rows—one of Capt. Clarke and one of The Queen—with Nasturtiums intermixed, which have a very pretty effect.—R. Greenfield, Priory Gardens.

The Garden, 12: 80 (July 28, 1877)
Sweet Peas.
At a recent meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society (on at which there was a fine horticultural display, but few, to witness it), bunches of flowers of all the cultivated Sweet Peas were exhibited by Messrs. Carter & Co. The group was one of peculiar interest, because Sweet Peas are so seldom shown. The brightest of all in colour was the Scarlet Invincible, a truly beautiful Sweet Pea, with its purple crest and clear bright scarlet wings. Purple Invincible is also a fine selection, the crest being maroon and the wings rich purple, while the flowers are large and bold. The Scarlet Sweet Pea has a purple crest and bright rose-coloured wings, and is very pretty, but lacks the size and brilliancy of Scarlet Invincible. Painted Lady is a pretty variety, the crest of which is pale purple, and the wings pink and white. The Invincible Striped gives us the Scarlet Invincible, with the wings flaked with white, on a scarlet ground. The blue-edged Painted Lady is a novel and charming variety, in which the pink and white wings become suffused with blue as the flowers age, imparting to it a very distinct appearance. The Scarlet-striped is simply the Scarlet Sweet Pea with the wings flaked with white, but is quite distinct as a variety. The Purple Sweet Pea is a pleasing, brightly-coloured variety, the crest of which is maroon and the wings bright purple. The Purple-striped has bright purple wings flaked and pencilled with white. Crown Princess of Prussia has a pale salmon-pink crest with dashes of rosy-purple, the wings being pale pink. A new variety named heterosperma is very pretty and distinct; it is a selection from the Invincible Scarlet: it has a delicate rose crest flushed with scarlet, and purple and white wings. Lastly comes an attractive new variety named Violet Queen; it was not exhibited with the foregoing, but I have since seen it growing at St. Osyth. It has a bright lilac crest and blue-violet wings, and can scarcely fail to be a favourite. There yet remains the white, with its small white flowers, very good as a variety and as affording a contrast to the dark-coloured varieties. It will thus be seen that there is quite a wealth of Sweet Peas, and, whether grown in patches of separate varieties or mixed together, they make charming garden plants both for decorative purposes and for affording cut flowers.—D.

The Garden, 13 (1878), p. 44.
Butterfly—This beautiful variety was raised in Messrs. Sutton & Son's seed grounds at Reading. Its flowers, as will be seen, have a pure white ground, delicately laced with lavender-blue, tints which contrast admirably with the scarlet, black, rose, white, and other colours to be found in Sweet Peas already in cultivation. It therefore supplies a want hitherto existing in this favourite class of hardy, sweet-scented, climbing annuals. It possesses the same robust habit as the older varieties, and has proved itself to be perfectly true to colour and character. The annexed plate scarcely does justice to this Pea, owing to the difficulty experienced in giving to the flowers that softness and delicacy which they naturally possess. Vigorous plants of it sent us by Messrs. Sutton were covered with flowers, of which the plate gives only a faint idea, the flower being one consisting of neutral tints very difficult to render in colour printing. From having seen the plant, however, on several occasions, we may say that it is an annual of exceptional merit, and worthy of a place in every garden. It would deserve also what Sweet Peas so often do not get — good culture and a good position.

Live Stock Journal Almanack, p. 136 (1878)
In addition to the above, we would also call attention to the New Sweet Pea, known as “Butterfly,” which has been grown by Messrs. Sutton at Reading. The flowers have a pure white ground, and are delicately tinged with lavender blue. With the scarlet, black, rose, and other colours in cultivation it contrasts admirably. The spikes of bloom when cut retain their fragrance for a long time in water, which renders it a favourite specimen for the bouquet.

Gardeners' Chronicle, p. 379 (March 29, 1879)
Sutton’s Butterfly Sweet Pea
This beautiful variety was raised in our Seed Ground. The flowers are pure white with a border of lavender blue, and contrast admirably with the scarlet and other colors already in cultivation. Price 6d. And 1s. Per packet, post-free.

Wiener Illustirte Garten-Zeitung 8: 308 (July, 1883)
Lathyrus odoratus: Capitain Clarke, weiss mit Rosa und lilablau; Butterfly, blauer Anflug mit Weiss;

The Florist and Pomologist p. 163 (Nov. 1883)
Sweet Peas.
Blue Edge, a very showy variety, having the standards very light rose; and the wings white, with distinct edge of blue. Very showy and effective; Carter &, Co.
... awarded a 1st class Certificate R.H.S., Chiswick, Aug. 23.

The Florist and Pomologist (Feb. 1884)
Crossing Sweet Peas
H. Eckford
I commenced my operations on the Sweet Pea four or five years ago, with the following kinds: Invincible, the Queen, Violet Queen, Captain Clark, Princess of Prussia, Butterfly, and what is generally known as the Black Sweet Pea. These, as in the case of the culinary Pea, were carefully prepared and crossed. The seeds produced from these crosses were sown singly in thumb-pots about the middle of January the following year, and kept in a cold frame till the plants were strong enough to turn out, which was about the end of March. They were planted three feet apart, about one hundred in number. Whether the vigour of the plants was stimulated by the crossing, or the thin planting, or by both, I do not now stop to determine, but the growth and display of bloom was truly unique. They made a row so dense that in some cases where a variety was considered to possess some merit worth perpetuating, it was found difficult to separate them without actually pulling them to pieces.

The Gardeners' Monthly 28: 3-4 January 1886
Varieties.—Adonis, Butterfly, Scarlet Invincible, Blue-Edged, Crown Princess of Prussia, Black, Scarlet, Pure White, Purple, White with pink blush, Painted Lady, Fairy Queen, Pink striped Mahogany, Purple and Maroon, Red with purple striped, Pink and white striped, Lavender and pink striped, Pink and Magenta striped, Maroon with purple striped. Elmira, N. Y.

The Garden 33: 483 (May 26, 1888)
Out of thirty-one named varieties of Sweet Peas planted for trial last year, I found but nineteen really distinct kinds. Cardinal was practically identical with Invincible Scarlet; so was Princess Louise, with The Queen; Queen of the Isles, with Invincible Red Striped; Violet Queen and Grand Blue, with Light Blue and Purple; Purple Striped, with Black and White; Captain Clark and Lotty Eckford, with Blue Edged.
    No pink and white variety is as good as Painted Lady, though Crown Princess of Prussia is beautiful, but of lighter colour. Captain Clark has a white standard shaded with rose and veined with dark lines, and white wings tinged with rose and edged with purple. Fairy Queen is nearly pure white, with a few delicate crimson veins in the centre of the standard. Butterfly is white, faintly edged and shaded with blue.—A. H. Fewkes, in Garden and Forest 1: 43-44 (March 21, 1888)

Garden and Forest 4(185): 428 (Sept. 9, 1891)
Captain Clarke, of which the newer strain deserves to be called Columbia, because it is red, white and blue.
Butterfly, shaded blue and white, and sometimes blue-edged.

Journal of Horticulture 25: 81 (1892)
Lottie Eckford, although not a new variety, is a lovely and distinct one, white margined with pale blue.

American Gardening 14: 64 (January 1893)
W. Atlee Burpee advertisement
LOTTIE ECKFORD. Lovely, long-stemmed flowers, borne profusely in clusters of three; clear white, delicately shaded porcelain blue, distinctly and broadly margined lavender.

American Florist 7(245): 670 (Feb 9, 1893)
A Standard List of Sweet Peas for 1893
W T Hutchins
Blue Edged. Apt to be mixed with Butterfly.
Butterfly. White, laced and shaded with lilac.
Capt. Clarke (Tricolor). White, standards pencilled with carmine, and wings edged with blue.
Lottie Eckford. White, standard suffused with crimson, and wings blue edged. Distinct from Capt. Clark in striking cast and improved form. Not one of Mr. Eckford's.

Transactions of the Worcester County Horticultural Society – 1894, p. 24
You may buy the Lottie Eckford, but you will not get it of any house in this country this year. Every seedsman thinks he has it, but he has not. Mr. Eckford, himself, has lost the original Lottie Eckford, and this year begins over again with a new description.
[CybeRose note: It appears that the original 'Lottie Eckford' resembled 'Blue Edged/Capt. Clarke', whereas the 'New Lottie Eckford' was more like 'Butterfly/Maid of Honor'.]

Gardening 3: 164 (Feb 15, 1895)
W T Hutchins
Then the old and ever reliable Butterfly, if you get the true Butterfly, which is the blue edged and blue laced white, and not carmine flushed, which is Capt. Clarke.

L. H. Bailey and A. P. Wyman: Sweet Peas (1896)
The varieties of sweet peas with which Mr. Eckford began his work, as given by Mr. Hutchins, are seven, as follows: Light Blue and Purple, Painted Lady, Common White, Scarlet, Scarlet Striped, Dark Striped, Black.
[CybeRose note: Eckford (1884, above) gave a different list.]

L. H. Bailey and A. P. Wyman: Sweet Peas (1896)
    11. Blue Edged. (Vick's Sons.)
Good. Flowers large. Standard hooded, with two sinuses at the sides. Color, purple lilac. Bloom profuse. Evidently the same as Butterfly.
Began to bloom July 15.
Continued throughout the season.
At best July 29
[In Vick's 1871 catalog (see above) Blue Edged was described as white and pink edged blue.]
    18. Butterfly. (Burpee.) Fig. 82. (at right)
Very good and dainty. Flowers medium size. Standard hooded, with two sinuses at the sides. Color, purple-lilac, one of the prettiest. Bloom profuse.
Began to bloom July 17.
Continued throughout the season.
Profuse from Aug. 5.
    19. Captain Clarke. (Burpee.)*
Poor quality, but prolific. Flowers small. Standard flat, stiff. Color, standard white merging into pink and purple, wings white with a purplish cast. Bloom profuse. Far from being beautiful.
Began to bloom July 16.
Continued throughout the season.
At best Aug. 5.

The Granite Monthly, 23: 80 (1897)
The New Lottie Eckford sweet-pea suggests the Butterfly in its form and color. When well grown, the blossom is of large size, the standard of one I have in hand measuring one and one half inches across the middle. The standard is considerably hooded. The wings are wide and quite horizontal with their front ends curving downward. Frequently the standard is double. In color, this Lottie Eckford is white at the bases of the petals, gradually assuming an increasingly deeper lavender hue toward the outer edge, and the edges are fringed with a distinct line of lavender. This is a very charming variety, which one would be loath to omit from even a small collection.

The Butterfly sweet-pea is a charming variety on account of the delicacy of its colors and the airy grace of its form. In both respects it resembles the New Lottie Eckford, which, however, is a considerably larger blossom. A mass of the Butterflies is quite unique in its fluffy effect.

The Captain Clarke is a tri-colored sweet-pea, but it is not very pleasing in its color effect. The standard is tinged with a light tint of violet red, especially on the front surface, while the wings are white, edged with a tint of blue violet. The flowers are rather small, with flat standards, but the plant blooms profusely.

Gardeners' Chronicle, 21: 160 (March 6, 1897)
Sweet Peas
In 1837 I notice Mr. Carter offers a similar list, with a striped form added; whilst in 1850 he includes "new large-flowered." In 1860 he gives nine varieties and a yellow-flowered one, and also blue-edged, to which the Royal Horticultural Society gave a First-class Certificate many years later. On August 22, 1883, this novelty was first named Blue Hybrid, and it was understood to have been a true hybrid between the annual white Sweet Pea and the perennial Lord Anson's Blue, now almost lost to cultivation. It was the outcome of a series of experiments made with the object of raising a real blue flowered variety by Col. Trevor Clarke of Daventry.

    [CybeRose note: This is the earliest mention that I've found of the fabled connection with Lord Anson's Blue Pea. I cannot verify the name 'Blue Hybrid'. The earliest names were 'Captain Clarke's Blue Edged' and 'Captain Clarke's Hybrid'. 
    Perhaps there was a typesetting problem in this note. As printed, it suggests that the variety was first named 'Blue Hybrid' on August 22, 1883, which seems odd as well as inaccurate. The alternative: "... and also blue-edged, to which the Royal Horticultural Society gave a First-class Certificate many years later, on August 22, 1883. This novelty was first named Blue Hybrid ..." 
    The variety was actually called 'Blue Edged' in 1859, and 'Blue Edge' when it received its certificate in 1883.]

Rhode Island Bd. of Agric. (1897)
In 1837 James Carter, Holborn, London, quoted in his catalogue, black, painted lady, purple, scarlet, white, striped and yellow. This brings us to the renaissance of the sweet pea. Although in my visit to England in 1895 I endeavored to get from the older seed houses the dates of the introduction of the first improved sorts, and such new colors as had begun to appear, I am very willing to trust Mr. Dicks' data, for his opportunity to make a thorough search is unequalled. He says the blue edged variety was offered by James Carter in 1860, although in 1883 this variety was named blue hybrid, and was thought to be a true cross between the white sweet pea and Lord Anson's blue, and was the outcome of a series of experiments made by Colonel Trevor Clarke, of Daventry. Butterfly, as offered by Sutton in 1880, was practically identical with this.
    Mr. Dicks and I agree on the introduction of invincible scarlet in 1865, a first-class certificate being awarded to Stephen Brown, of Sudbury. Carter put it out. In 1867 an improved purple called Imperial Purple was offered. Mr. Dicks traced the introduction of Crown Princess of Prussia to Haage & Schmidt, 1868-1869. This was the beginning of the soft pink varieties. The Carters told me they put out Violet Queen in 1877. Haage & Schmidt offered Fairy Queen in 1873-74 (as per Mr. Dicks) and also Lilacine Splendens, which they claimed to be superior to Capt. Clarke, but the latter has held the field.

Trans. Mass. Hort. Soc. p. 50 (1898)
The Sweet Pea: The Flower for Everybody
Rev. W. T. Hutchins
Carter put out the names Invincible Black and Invincible Scarlet Striped about 1880. Soon followed Lilacina Splendens, now a doubtful variety, although we still have the name Splendid Lilac. I suspect this latter is what more commonly became the Captain Clarke.
[CybeRose note: I think it far more likely that 'Captain Clarke's Blue Edged Hybrid' was the one that came to be known as 'Captain Clarke'. If 'Butterfly' had never been renamed 'Blue Edged', not even Hutchins could have confused it with Clarke's strain.]

American Florist (Feb. 12, 1898)
Sweet Peas Still in the Ascendant.
W. T. Hutchins
But there is another side to this matter. The ruinous under cut in contract prices has forced our best growers to some kind of protection. They have found a little relief in novelty stock. In all fairness they are entitled to it. If I know that a certain grower will take special pains with an improved strain of some old popular sort, and that he will father that improved strain, and feel a special obligation to hold it up in quality, I am willing he should rename it, and get some just compensation for his work on it. He could get nothing for growing the old deteriorated stock. Butterfly was Butterfly till it run out. Now it is better than ever as Maid of Honor, and when that deteriorates they can call it Maid of Orleans if they want to, just so they give us back good stock of that dear old blue edged sweet pea. There never was any sense in calling it Butterfly, anyhow.

Gardeners' Chronicle, 28(708): 50 (July 21, 1900)
From that time till 1860 little seems to have been done till the last-named year, when a blue-edged variety was brought out, and said to have been a true cross between the annual white Sweet Pea and the perennial Lord Anson's blue. Were it not that the name of Col. Trevor Clarke is mentioned as the raiser, we should not have attached much importance to the statement. It is not mentioned in Dr. Focke's standard book on Hybridisation. [CybeRose note: Focke did discuss Darwin's cross, detailed below.]

American Gardening 21(292): 501 (July 28, 1900)
Chronological Contributions to the History of the Sweet Pea
By a member of the staff of Messrs. Carter's, London, Eng.
I have traced through several seed catalogues and cannot find any other additions to the list until we come to the Blue Edged as brought out by us in 1860. Sweet Peas were only in their infancy in popular favor in these days, and we did not submit this variety to the Royal Horticultural Society until August 22, 1883, when it was given their first-class certificate. It was understood to have been a true cross between the annual white Sweet Pea and the Perennial Lord Anson's blue. It was the outcome of a series of experiments made with the object of raising a real blue flowered variety by Major Trevor Clarke of Daventry.
[CybeRose note: The Carter's ad from 1859 (above) clearly states that 'Capt. Clarke's New Hybrid Sweet Pea' was derived from Painted Lady and the Purple; and the description in 1883 agrees with that of 1859 about the light rose standard.]

D B Crane, The Book of the Sweet Pea (1910)
Reverting to 1860 we find a blue-edged variety was offered by Mr James Carter to which the Royal Horticultural Society gave a First Class Certificate at a later date. Twenty-three years later (1883) this same variety was first named Blue Hybrid. It was understood to be a true hybrid between the perennial Lord Anson's Blue and the annual white Sweet Pea. It was one of a series of experiments that were made, with the definite object of procuring a real blue-flowered kind, by Colonel Trevor Clarke of Daventry. Not the least interesting fact in this connection is that Butterfly, offered by Messrs Sutton & Sons, in 1880, is practically identical with this variety. 

Beal: Sweet Pea Studies (1912)
The variety Blue Edged, the probable forerunner of the picotee forms, appeared in 1860. This was a white variety with a well-defined blue edge, a possible hybrid between L. Magellanicus and a white variety of L. odoratus. The variety, at all events, was the first to exhibit a distinct blue color among sweet peas. Later it was known as Blue Hybrid, under which name it won an award from the Royal Horticultural Society. Sutton & Son sent out Butterfly* in 1878, which somewhat resembled Blue Edged. The so-called "blues" that followed were Invincible Blue, Madame Carnot or Imperial Blue, and Captain of the Blues, all of which had considerable red in the standard. It was not until 1899 that a good blue appeared, in Navy Blue (Lord Nelson).
*See color plate in The Garden, 13 (1878), p. 44. (above)
[CybeRose note: Beal should have checked his facts rather than relying on other writers. In fact, the 1883 Certificate was awarded to 'Blue Edge'.]

Annual Report, New York (State) Dept. of Agriculture 2(1): 687 (1912)
In 1860 Mr. Carter offered nine varieties, besides a yellow-flowered variety and the variety Blue Edged. The last-named variety was white, with a well-marked blue edge, and it was stated that it was the result of many experiments made by Major Trevor Clarke, of Daventry, in crossing a pure white sweet pea with the perennial bright-blue-flowered Lord Anson's pea, L. Magellanicus. Later, in 1883, under the name "Blue Hybrid," this variety received the First Class Certificate of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Gardeners' Chronicle ser. 3. 53: 60 (July 20, 1912)
Dragon Fly, sent by Messrs. ALDERSEY & JONES, is very quaint, for it shows close connection with the ancient Captain Clark and Columbia. The curious purple veins in the standard are a feature, but its chief peculiarity is that the flowers open cream and rapidly change to rosy-purple, finally turning purple and mauve.

Gardeners' Chronicle of America 16(9): 570 (July, 1913)
The lesson is that if the grower does not intend to comply with the requirements of the improved types, it is better to grow Butterfly, Captain Clarke, Peach Blossom, and other small-flowered, precocious varieties.

Beal: Sweet-pea Studies (1914)
    Originated by Major Trevor Clarke. Introduced by Carter, 1860.
    Synonyms — Blue Hybrid was probably identical.
    Remarks — This variety is given in the Sweet Pea Annual, and in Sweet Peas Up to Date (edition of 1910), as first introduced in 1883. This is an error of date. The variety was catalogued by Vick as early as 1872, if not earlier. The first of the picotee-edged blues.
[I think this was a strain of 'Butterfly'. Vick's Sons catalog of 1871 described 'Blue Edged' as "white and pink, edged with blue".]
    Originated by ————— Introduced by C. Sharpe & Co.
    Description in brief — White-edged and penciled with carmine; wings edged with blue.
    Description in detail — Color of standard shaded violet-rose 154 (2-3) on a lilacy white 7 (4) ground; wings lilacy white, shaded lilac-mauve 196 (1). Flower small, open form; standard small, flat, with notched top; wings short and broad, partly open. Flowers two to three, usually three, equidistant on medium stems. Moderately fragrant. Bloom profuse. Plant of tall, healthy growth. Leaflets broad, pointed; tendrils green.
    Remarks —Formerly known also under name "Tricolor." Columbia, another tricolor variety, is striped. Offered by Breck in 1885.
    Originated by ————— Introduced by Sutton, 1878.
    Donated by Morse, for evolution studies.
    Description in brief— White, tinted purple and edged with blue.
    Description in detail — Color of standard and wings edged lobelia blue 205 (1-2) on a purplish-tinted ground 6 (3-4). Flower small to medium size, hooded form; standard small to medium size, hooded, with notched sides; wings short and broad.
Flowers two to three on stems. Very fragrant. Bloom profuse. Plant of tall, strong, healthy growth. Leaflets narrow, pointed; tendrils green.
    Comparison — Butterfly, Maid of Honor, and Lottie Eckford vary in the amount of coloring distributed in the flower.
    Remarks — One of the most important varieties ever grown.

There is more than a little confusion as to the identity and proper name of Lord Anson's Blue Pea.. Here are four possibilities that have been mentioned.

Lathyrus magellanicus

Lathyrus nervosus

Lathyrus sativus (blue form)

Gardening Illustrated 21-372 (Sept. 16, 1899)
L. Magellanicus,
from the Straits of Magellan, is known by the name of Lord Anson's Blue Pea. The species is said to have been originally introduced by the cook of H.M.S. Centurion, of which ship Lord Anson was captain, in 1744, and bears flowers of a beautiful blue tint. It is a perennial species, but at the present date is apparently lost to cultivation. L. Armitageanus is sometimes sold for it, but more often would-be purchasers are put off with a blue variety of L. sativus.

Mrs. Loudon (1843) listed L. Armitageanus as a synonym for L. magellanicus, whereas Cree (1829) identifies L. sativa as Lord Anson's Pea. Neither is correct.

Sweet (1854) L.magellanicus

Firminger: A Manual of gardening for Bengal and upper India (1874)
2. L. Magellanicus—Lord Anson's Pea.—Between this and a common weed in Bengal, which bears small bright blue flowers, there seems to be scarcely a perceptible difference. [L. sativa]

It is interesting to note that in the 1860s, the "hybrid" was reported to have been between Painted Lady and the Purple (now replaced by Cupani). Brent and Darwin also crossed the two varieties, and the results are not too different from early descriptions of Clarke's variety. In addition, there were even earlier reports of "Painted Ladies" combining white, pink and blue.

Journal of Horticulture 1(9): 160 (May 28, 1861)
Cross Breeding Sweet Peas.—I perceive Mr. Beaton, in The Journal Of Horticulture, May 14, says he does not know of any one who has obtained a true cross in any of the Pea-flowering plants. I do not know if the following will interest him. About the year 1836 I crossed the Painted Lady and Purple or Puce Sweet Peas. I obtained very few seeds, and these the next season produced grizzled and striped blooms, being a mixture of the two colours. I do not know if Mr. Beaton will consider this a true cross.—B. P. Brent.

Darwin: Variation of Animals and Plants 1: 472 (1868)
It may be worth mentioning that I fertilized the Purple Sweet-pea (Lathyrus odoratus) with pollen from the light-coloured Painted Lady: seedlings raised from the same pod were not intermediate in character, but perfectly resembled either parent. Later in the summer, the plants which had at first borne flowers identical with those of the Painted Lady, produced flowers streaked and blotched with purple; showing in these darker marks a tendency to reversion to the mother-variety.

Darwin: Variation of Animals and Plants 2: 118-119 (1868)
I fertilised the purple sweet-pea (Lathyrus odoratus), which has a dark reddish-purple standard-petal and violet-coloured wings and keel, with pollen of the painted-lady sweet-pea, which has a pale cherry-coloured standard, and almost white wings and keel; and from the same pod I twice raised plants perfectly resembling both sorts; the greater number resembling the father. So perfect was the resemblance, that I should have thought there had been some mistake, if the plants which were at first identical with the paternal variety, namely, the painted-lady, had not later in the season produced, as mentioned in a former chapter, flowers blotched and streaked with dark purple. I raised grandchildren and great-grandchildren from these crossed plants, and they continued to resemble the painted-lady, but during the later generations became rather more blotched with purple, yet none reverted completely to the original mother-plant, the purple sweet-pea.

Darwin: Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation 154 (1876)
In order to ascertain what would be the effect of crossing two varieties, some flowers on the Purple sweet-pea, which has a dark reddish-purple standard-petal with violet-coloured wing-petals and keel, were castrated whilst very young, and were fertilised with pollen of the Painted Lady. This latter variety has a pale cherry-coloured standard, with almost white wings and keel. On two occasions I raised from a flower thus crossed plants perfectly resembling both parent-forms; but the greater number resembled the paternal variety. So perfect was tho resemblance, that I should have suspected some mistake in the label, had not the plants, which were at first identical in appearance with the father or Painted Lady, later in the season produced flowers blotched and streaked with dark purple. This is an interesting example of partial reversion in the same individual plant as it grows older. The purple-flowered plants were thrown away, as they might possibly have been the product of the accidental self-fertilisation of the mother-plant, owing to the castration not having been effectual. But the plants which resembled in the colour of their flowers the paternal variety or Painted Lady were preserved, and their seeds saved. Next summer many plants were raised from these seeds, and they generally resembled their grandfather the Painted Lady, but most of them had their wing-petals streaked and stained with dark pink; and a few had pale purple wings with the standard of a darker crimson than is natural to the Painted Lady, so that they formed a new sub-variety. Amongst these plants a single one appeared having purple flowers like those of the grandmother, but with the petals slightly streaked with a paler tint: this was thrown away. Seeds were again saved from the foregoing plants, and the seedlings thus raised still resembled the Painted Lady, or great-grandfather; but they now varied much, the standard petal varying from pale to dark red, in a few instances with blotches of white; and the wing-petals varied from nearly white to purple, the keel being in all nearly white.

Darwin: Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation 156-157 (1876)
But some flowers of the Painted Lady, castrated at an early age, were fertilised with pollen from the Purple sweet-pea; and it should be remembered that these varieties differ in nothing except in the colour of their flowers. The cross was manifestly effectual (though only two seeds were obtained), as was shown by the two seedlings, when they flowered, closely resembling their father, the Purple pea, excepting that they were a little lighter coloured, with their keels slightly streaked with pale purple.

According to Henry Phillips (1824), "Linnaeus tells us that the common dark variety is a native of Sicily, and that the more delicate-coloured kind, which is distinguished by the name of the Painted Lady, is an indigenous plant of Ceylon. These two kinds have lately been blended by the art of the florist, or by accidental impregnation, and have produced a variety with striped petals."

21 Verlot, 'Des Variétés,' 1865, p. 63. The discussion of striped flowers begins on the page numbered 156 in the PDF.
Also, Verlot, 1865
This seems to confirm what Darwin (Variations) wrote: "Vilmorin21 has also recorded several cases with plants derived from seed, of flowers reverting by stripes or blotches to their primitive colours: he states that in all such cases a white or pale-coloured variety must first be formed, and, when this is propagated for a length of time by seed, striped seedlings occasionally make their appearance; and these can afterwards by care be multiplied by seed."

I have learned that the standard or banner of the Purple has about 4 times as much pigment as the wings; but the wings have about 6 times the co-pigment. This explains why the Purple is two-colored rather than merely two-toned. The Scarlet appears to differ from the Purple by the loss of co-pigment. Thus, the difference in pigment density is clearly shown. The Painted Lady differs from the Scarlet by a general reduction in pigment, leaving the banner pink, and the wings white and faint pink.

J. Exp. Bot. (1966) 17 (1): 177-184.
Development of Anthocyanin Pigmentation in Flowers of Lathyrus odoratus

A quantitative study has been made of developmental changes in the anthocyanins and a flavonol glycoside in the red/blue bicoloured flowers of Lathyrus odoratus L. Anthocyanin formation occurs during the period of most rapid growth of the petals. At maturity about four times as much anthocyanin is present in the standard petal as in the pair of wing petals, which are together comparable in fresh weight to the standard. The pattern of development of flavonol glycoside is quite different; some are formed well before anthocyanin formation occurs and at maturity about six times as much flavonol glycoside is present in the wings as in the standard per unit amount of anthocyanin. Some further evidence is thus provide that the flavonol glycoside may be acting as a co-pigment which modifies the wing petal colour to blue.

When the Painted Lady is back-crossed to the ancestral Purple, the addition of co-pigment to the Painted Lady pigmentation gives a darker rose colored standard, with "blue" tinged wings. However, the reduced pigmentation of the "Painted Lady trait" appears to be variable, some strains lighter, others darker. This also affects the 'Blue Edge' strains, sometimes giving such a faint color in the Standard that the flowers almost resemble 'Butterfly' in color, though not in form.

Lord Anson's Pea, from Mrs Loudon (1843) In the colored plate the center flower is known as Scarlet. In this it may be noticed that the petals forming the keel are white, the wings rose-colored, and the banner scarlet. At the right of this center flower is one with white keel and very dark crimson wings and banner, this variety in the trade is called Black. Directly underneath the last mentioned one is what is known as Blue Edged [Butterfly]. Above the center flower, Scarlet, is one with white keel and white wings and a rose-colored banner; this is Painted Lady. At the upper left-hand corner of the group is Scarlet Invincible, having a white keel and scarlet wings and banner.
(From Vick's Illustrated Magazine, March 1882)


Purple Scarlet Painted Lady Capt. Clarke ?
Scarlet Invincible Black Blue Edged [Butterfly var.] Columbia ?

Xue, Cronk: Molecular basis of Painted Lady sweet pea (2017)

The breeding behavior described in this report is different from that observed in the 19th century. It is probable that neither of the parents used were the originals.

Dr. Keith Hammett of New Zealand lists:
     " 'Original'. This is the genuine wild Sweet Pea. It is very highly scented. This stock was collected in Sicily during the 1970's. All other Sweet Peas have been developed from it. This is distinct from the cultivar 'Cupani', which is an impostor.

CybeRose note: I believe the original 'Painted Lady' has long since been replaced by "improved" versions.

Botanical Lists

Historia Plantarum Generalis p. 1891 (1693)
John Ray
In Jacobi Breynii Prodr. habentur,
     1. Lathyrus Zeylanicus, flore pulchro rubro, siliquis Pisi.

Original Purple Sweet Pea
The Botanical Magazine 2: t. 60 (1790)

Kniphof: Botanico in Originali v. 4 t. 37 (1758)

Black Sweet Pea
Burnett (1842)

Catalogus plantarum sicularum noviter adinventarum p. 41 (1695)
Francesco Cupani
Lathyrus distoplatyphyllus, hirsutus, mollis, magno, & perameno flore, odoro.

Hortus Catholicus, 2nd ed. p. 107 (1696)
Francesco Cupani
Lathyrus distoplatyphyllus, hirsutus, mollis, magno, & peramaeno flore odoro.

Horti medici amstelodamensis rariorum tam Orientalis, vol 2, p. 219 t. 80 (1701)
Caspar Commelin
Lathyrus distoplatyphyllus, hirsutus, mollis, magno, et peramaeno flore, odoro. Cupani Hort. Cath.

Index Plantarum Horti Carolsruhani p. 110 (1733)
Christian Thran
1430. Lathyrus Distoplatyphyllos hirsutus, mollis, magno & peramaeno, flore odoro, Cupani Hort. Cath.
1431. Lathyrus Zeylanicus odoratus, flore partim albo, partim rubro.

Thesaurus Zeylanicu pp. 138-139s (1737)
Johannes Burmann
LATHYRUS Zeylanicus, odorato flore, amoenè ex albo & rubro vario. Nobis. Lathyrus Zeylanicus, hirsutus, flore variegato, odorato. Herb. Hart.* floris tantum varietate haec planta a Lathyro odorato Cupani differt, quem, quia in H. Amst. part. 2. pag. 159. Fig. 80. bene descriptus & expressus est, hic non ulterius exhibemus, quum & omnibus insuper notae sunt hae plantae, eo quod frequentissime in nostris occurrant hortis.
LATHYRUS Zeylanicus, flore rubro, pulchro, siliquis Pisi. Breyn. Prodr.
     1. apud Ray. hist. pl. pag. 1891
*John Hartog was trained in the Leyden Garden and made a journey to Ceylon at the instigation of Boerhaave and of William Sherard, Director of the Garden. He sent plants and seeds to Voss. He died in the prime of life from exposure and unsuitable food.

Species Plantarum vol. 2, p. 732. (1753)

odoratus 11. LATHYRUS pedunculis bifloris, cirrhis diphyllis, foliis ovato-oblongis, leguminibus hirsutis.
Hort. cliff. 368. Hort. ups. 216. Roy. lugdb. 363.
siculus α. Lathyrus siculus. Rupp. jen. 210.
Lathyrus distoplatyphyllos hirsutus mollis, magno & peramoeno flore odoro. Comm. hort. 2. p. 219. t. 80.
zeylanicus β. Lathyrus zeylanicus, odorato flore amoeno ex albo & rubro vario. Burm. zeyl. 138.
Habitat α in Sicilia, β in Zeylona.

Dictionnaire oeconomique p. 189 (1767)
Noel Chomel
3.Lathyrus distoplatiphyllos hirsutus, mollis, magno & peramaeno flore odoro. H. Cathol. Le Pois de Senteur; Pois Gesse Odorant.
On remarque deux variétiés de cette plante. L’une a l’éntendart d’un rouge vif; les ailes, d’un bleu pâle; & la quille ou nacelle blanche. Tout est blanc dans l’autre. La premier porte en Anglois le nom de Painted Lady Pea: ce qui revient à Pois Fardé.
[There are two varieties of this plant. One has the standard bright red; the wings, a pale blue; & the keel or basket white. Everything is white in the other. The first bears the name of Painted Lady Pea in English: what amounts to Painted Pea.]

Miller: Gardeners Dictionary (1768)
There are two other varieties of this sort, one of which has a Pink-coloured standard with a white keel, and the wings of a pale blush colour; this is commonly called Painted Lady Pea. The flowers of the other are all white, which are the only differences between them.

The Universal Gardener and Botanist (1778)
Thomas MAWE (and John ABERCROMBIE, Horticulturist.)
Odoriferous annual Lathyrus, commonly called Sweet-scented Pea.] Hath a fibrey annual root; a climbing stalk, rising upon support, by its claspers, three or four feet high; diphyllous leaves, of two oval lobes, terminated by climbing tendrils; and flowers by twos on long flower-stalks; of different colours in the varieties.
Varieties of this are] Purple-flowered sweet-pea—white-flowered sweet pea—variegated, or painted lady sweet-scented-pea. All of which flower in summer, from May or June until October, by different sowings.

Martyn's edition of Miller's Gardeners' Dictionary (1807)
"In the common sort the corolla has dark purple standards, with the keel and wings of a light blue. Other varieties are the white; the pink with a white keel and wings pale blush color; the rose-coloured standard with keel and wings pale blue; these that have a mixture of red with white or a pale blue are called Painted Lady dies.[sic.should read "Peas"] There is also a variety of the common dark sort with the keel pale violet and the wings dark violet, etc."


Hortus Anglicus vol. 2, pp. 245-246 (1822)
Stephen Reynolds Clarke
9. L. Odoratus. Sweet Pea. "Stalks two flowered; tendrils two leaved; leaflets ovate, oblong; legumes hairy;" stem rising by its claspers or tendrils to three or four feet; flower-stalks axillary, six inches long, sustaining two large flowers, sweet scented, if more than two the uppermost are commonly blighted, colours various, white, pink with a white keel, or the standard pink with both wings and keel white, standard red with wings and keel pale blue, standard dark purple, wings violet, and keel pale violet. The flowers when mixed with white, pink, and pale blue, are called Painted Ladies. June, July. The purple-flowered native of Sicily. The Painted Ladies of Ceylon. 1700. A

Flora domestica: or, The portable flower-garden, p. 418 (1823)
Elizabeth Kent, Leigh Hunt
The Sweet-pea has several varieties, greatly differing in colour: the common sort, which is blue and dark-purple, sometimes with a tinge of red, is a native of Sicily. The more delicate kind, white and blush, or white and deep rose-colour, sometimes with a mixture of pale blue, is a native of the Island of Ceylon, and is called the Painted-lady.

Henry Phillips (1824)

Plantæ Utiliores: or illustrations of useful plants (1842)
M. A. Burnett, Gilbert Thomas Burnett
The Sweet pea has several varieties, greatly differing in colour: the common sort which is blue and dark purple, sometimes with a tinge of red, is a native of Sicily. The more delicate kind, white and blue, or white and deep rose colour, sometimes with a mixture of pale blue, is a native of Ceylon, and is called the painted lady. [Possibly a misreading of a previous report]

Sweet Peas Bibliography