Thursday, 20 December 2007

Star of the Day 'Mrs. Alfred F. Conard'. (syn. Miss Oklahoma, Watermelon Pink).

Looking so fresh and pretty in my stockbeds in south eastern Australia at the moment is Canna X 'Mrs. Alfred F. Conard'. Although she hasn't yet reached her eventual height of 1 m. 60 cms. (5 '), her first flush of blooms is as breathtaking as always. In my humble opinion this is the best pink Canna ever bred even if the blooms are a little too big for my tastes. They are so opulent they almost scream decadence!

The substance of the staminodes is exceptionally thick and rivalled only by the old dark salmon Crozy cultivar 'Camille Bernadin'. This Canna is very unusual as with its great substance it looks to be a triploid yet it sets one to three seeds per pod.
Canna X 'Mrs. Alfred F. Conard' was raised by Wintzer for the Conard & Jones nursery in the USA and was released in 1915. It truly is a milestone Canna and should never have had its name corrupted.

For many years it has been sold by Horn Canna in the US as Miss Oklahoma. Here in Australia it was preserved in the collection of Mrs. Thelma Reiss and was distributed by her daughter Vicki Staal under the family's nickname Watermelon Pink. More recently it was imported into this country by Bernard Yorke under the name Miss Oklahoma.

This is a classic example of why cannas should not have their original names
changed. Importing live plant material into Australia is an expensive process as they must undergo lengthy quarantine and virus testing. The expense could have been spared if it was known that Miss Oklahoma and Watermelon Pink were both synonyms for 'Mrs. Alfred F. Conard' and she was well and truly established here in Australia.

This is one Canna that should be in everyone's

Right: is a picture of 'Mrs. Alfred F. Conard from the Conard & Jones catalogue of 1915.

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