Kent Kelly, a leading US Canna authority, has located documents published on Google Book Search that show the earliest evidence revealed to date about Canna 'Yellow King Humbert'. It is from "The Garden Magazine ", May 1918, and is an advert by the Vaughan Seed Co., Chicago, IL. USA.
We know that it was a sport of Canna 'Roi Humbert' aka 'King Humbert', confirmed by this advert and the laboratory tests conducted by Dr Khoshoo in India in the 1960's.
Canna 'Roi Humbert' growing at the Nates Parks Department in France, where it has been grown for about 100 years continuously.
Although the Vaughan Seed Co. advert described it as a sport it is much more than that. This is a chimeral mutation, which is the plant-life equivilant of Siamese twins. The DNA of both cultivars is present and at any time can mutate again into the other twin.
Sometimes the mutations are not complete, as can be seen by the photograph above where just one staminode turned red with tone combinations, and sometimes it is just variegation in the foliage, as in the photograph below.
At other times it mutates totally back and produces a chimera similar to the original C. 'Roi Humbert'. The number of such mutations is legion and they are recorded as sports. They possibly include:
- Black Knight
- General Eisenhower
- Out of Africa
- Paddy's Red
- Red Cleopatra
- Red King Humbert
- The Ambassadour
- Ty Ty Red
- Zulu Masquerade
Many of these sports have subtle differences and are worthy of being treated as separate cultivars.