Sunday, 11 May 2008

Exciting variegation breakthrough

Most of the variegated Cannas we grow are derived from mutations of the Italian Group, the two exceptions to that being Canna 'Kansas City', a Crozy Group mutation and C. 'Stuttgart', a Foliage Group mutation. The Italian Group variegated mutations are: C. 'Bengal Tiger', C. 'Durban', C. 'Phasion', C. 'Pringle Bay', C. 'Trinacria Variegata', C. 'Yellow King Humbert'. Although the Italians are almost seed sterile, a few seeds have been produced, However, there is no recorded instance of any seedlings being produced that carried the variegation trait.

Ms. Alice Harris of Karchesky Canna reports a breakthrough, having produced a Foliage Group canna that she has grown for a number of years now, and that originated from seed and has leaf variegation. The variegation has been stable in this plant for at least three years. The plant was tested for virus last summer and was given the all-clear, so this is a true variegation, and not induced by external means. The plant freely gives seed.

Alice started planting it's seeds late last summer as another experiment, and all seedlings to date have had variegation. She has just repeated the experiment, with another batch of seeds, to confirm the result.

As yet, it has not been established if the blooms are true-to-type, but that should be confirmed this summer when both batches come into flower.

It is interesting to see that the trait for variegation can be transmitted to seed-grown offspring, and this breakthrough offers some interesting future possibilities.

Alice has promised to take photographs regularly this season, and to share them with us, so that we can all join in the experience.

Click on image to visit the Karchesky web site

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