Can You Grow A Banana Tree From A Banana Flower Web Review – Modern Canna Cultivars

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Web Review – Modern Canna Cultivars

One of the most complex and aggravating problems in marketing henna lilies or purchasing henna rhizomes on the retail market is the practice of renaming henna cultivars old or new hybrids with illegitimate names. One of the reasons marketers are renaming henna lilies is to offer the public an obvious new choice of henna to plant in the garden. Another reason is the renaming of henna, which was not favored by the gardening public. This practice of renaming flowers is not only a recent phenomenon, but began with the Victorian era. Plant taxonomists have also made many arguments about the appropriate rules for naming native henna species. For example, William Bartram reported the discovery of Canna lutea, page 153, Travels at Fort Frederica, Ga., in 1773 as growing luxuriantly, but modern taxonomists renamed his canna Canna flaccida. In his Travels, page 424, Bartram also reported the discovery of a red-flowered, 9-foot-tall canna growing near Mobile, Al, but Canna indica, named by William Bartram after the American Indians, is now probably renamed. This confusion has not been helpful to the development and marketing of canna lilies.

Modern cannabis cultivars may, in one respect, have begun by backcrossing Luther Burbank’s wild, native American Canna flaccida to Madame Crozy. Burbank was a forward-thinking hybridizer who noted that Victorian-era henna cultivars had large flowers with many bright colors, and he also knew that his gold medal-winning henna was “Tarrytown,” which later received a name change to ‘Florence Vaughan’, shed clusters of old flowers, making the flower stems look fresh. In the Victorian era, henna stems on flowering stems generally seemed to retain their old flowers, but sometimes they were full of ugly, brown clustered flowers that no one liked. Burbank observed that it is desirable for henna stalks that have shed their blooms to fall to the ground. Burbank also saw value in developing henna flowers into softer, pastel colors. This was evident in his white “Eureka” henna creation, and his pastel colored henna hybrids were collectively named “Burbank”.

Modern henna hybrids are best discussed as groups, since most good and reliable breeders have been developed through intelligent henna hybridization programs, not by random selection of natural hybrids that have shown outstanding traits for selection. Some collectors and travelers have assembled selected canna hybrids from around the world to propagate and make available for distribution and sale to wholesalers and mail order companies.

The Dupont family of Delaware Chemical fame established a permanent garden for plant collections dating back to the late 18th century, later named Longwood Gardens. A beautiful pastel pink henna with large flowers still grows there, named after the wife of one of the late founders, Madame Pierre Dupont. Today, Longwood Gardens lists 23 cultivars on its website and has its own hybridization program that distributes its henna creations for retail testing at garden centers in various parts of the United States. The verdict is still out on whether or not these hybrids will be acceptable to the gardening public in the long term, but they have recently become available on some websites.

American Daylily and Perennials Co. of Missouri has released a series of canna cultivars called “Futurity” that appear to have been picked up by the marketing strategies of some wholesale suppliers and to some extent for use in container garden centers. It is not clear which named henna hybrids were actually released by the American Daylily and Perennials Co. or what additional names have been added by the henna hybridization pretenders by renaming old cultivars labeled ‘Futurity’. One online mail order company claims to have for sale: Pink Futurity Canna, Yellow Futurity Canna, Rose Futurity Canna, Yellow Futurity Canna, Orange Futurity Canna, and Bi-Color Futurity Canna.

In the 1980s, Mrs. Rosalind Sarver of California was one of the most important suppliers of high quality henna root to the wholesale trade. Her main business interest was the azalea plant, which she marketed on a large scale. Mrs. Sarver’s interest in azaleas grew through her travels to the East, which led to the introduction of many new azalea cultivars to the United States. During a visit to Beijing, China, she discovered an unusually colored and variegated henna, which she exported in large quantities to California. This henna has been named Cleopatra because it grows to a height of 5-6 feet and its bright, waxy green leaves are somewhat resistant to most henna insect and disease problems. The bright yellow flowers are randomly striped with red, sometimes randomly dotted with red or pink. The leaves are randomly colored with maroon stripes and occasionally the leaf is half maroon or in rare cases fully maroon all over. Chestnut color may curl into bands around the stem toward the top, where it translates into individual flowers as red markings on yellow. The rare Cleopatra canna plant can occasionally mutate and then divide into a completely chestnut colored canna to produce a plant called ‘Ty Ty Red’, where the color covers the entire surface of the leaves and the flowers are completely chestnut, about twice the size of the Red King Humbert flowers. The Canna Ty Ty Red plant is dwarf, 3-4 feet tall, and has never reverted back to any of the green variations evident in the original Cleopatra – remaining completely brown in both flower and foliage. Other very important cannabis varieties distributed by Mrs. Sarver were Eilleen Gallo, named after the wife of the heir to the Gallo Wine fortune in California, Crimson Beauty, Rosalinda, named after First Lady Rosalind Carter, and the famous Cleopatra, “an oriental hybrid that probably developed as a mutation of the original “The Humbert Canna” series.

A series of henna hybrids came from the Ty Ty nursery, mostly from the 1980s: Journey’s End, a bicolor of red and pink dots on yellow petals; Malcolm’s Red, a dwarf red henna with yellow petal edges surrounding all flowers; Maudie Malcolm, a rare lavender flower; red stripe, light green leaf with chestnut veins and midvein; Rosever, a rose, a large flower with chestnut leaves; and Ty Ty Red, a stable mutation with orange flowers and vine leaves that mutated from Cleopatra.

A multitude of variegated henna cultivars have been offered to the modern market. A world expert on henna lilies, Englishman Ian Cooke, proposed to widely market and patent ‘Tropicanna’, a striped leaf henna with orange flowers and leaves with orange, yellow and red stripes, which he described as “the most exotic and outrageously colored canna”, was introduced to England under the name Durban and also Phasion in 1994. This renaming and misnaming was repeated for many other variegated leaf canna varieties such as Striped Beauty, also renamed Nirvana, and Christs Light, which produces lemon yellow flowers with a pure white cross in the center with variegated white stripes on light green leaves.

Rename Pretoria canna was originally named Bengal Tiger, which produced orange flowers and orange stripes on medium green leaves. The variegated henna variety “Stuttgart” was briefly marketed with beautiful photos of white, angular, random streaks on green leaves. This henna was a sad mess in the garden, most of the rhizomes showed no variety, but those that did grew into twisted, twisted, weedy, trashy, unfit for the trash heap. Pink Sunburst was a beautiful cream pink flower with leaves of indescribable beauty and appeal. The leaves were delicately striped with a kaleidoscope of aesthetic shades of iridescent colors: green, cream, pink, yellow and orange. Unfortunately, this wonderfully desirable plant was infected with a virus that completely removed it from the retail markets of the United States, although some dealers claimed to have it in stock, orders were returned unfulfilled. This may work out for the best, because while this may be the most beautiful and desirable henna ever hybridized, it was cursed with a weakness that made it ridiculous to continue rescuing. No, gardeners do not have to face the challenge of tending to a plant that has been doomed by attacks from a virus for which there is no cure or recovery.

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