Northumberland Diary Discussion: 08 November 2011
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Greek autumn crocus. Entry 195.Go to latest contribution by John Richards, 10 November 2011, 09:43. Go to bottom of this page.
A great account John. Some lovely crocus you saw. I hesitate to comment on your observations of these plants in the wild as I have no such experience, however in the hope that it will prompt someone else to get involved in the discussion, here goes!
I am uncertain about the status of your putative hybrids. Having grown a range of forms of all the taxa you discuss I would see most if not all of these variants as just that, variants within specific taxa.
Steve Keeble reported on a 'strange niveus' about 11 years ago, bringing some seed into cultivation. I raised some of these to flowering size and they may represent your long divided style examples. I will have to dig through my photographic records to check.
The very blue niveus (x goulimyi) is very similar to some forms of Crocus niveus that I have grown. I would tend to put this within niveus.
I have noticed that the black colour in the anthers of Crocus biflorus melantherus is often hidden in mature flowers. As the anthers age they curl back to rexpose the pollen and can appear as entirely yellow.
I would not rule out hybridity entirely but in my collection the hybrids that I have noted are always between closely related taxa. C.boryi x C.laevigatus; C. speciosus x pulchellus; C hadriaticus x thomasii; C thomasii x cartwrightianus; C hadriaticus x cartwrightianus. Also all my home bred Crocus goulimyi leaucanthus seed from white flowered plants has bred pale blue flowered at the first generation suggesting it crosses very easily with Crocus goulimyi goulimyi as you might expect.
As a confirmed Croconut, this is a particularly pleasing diary entry, John, thank you.
The fact that you had fine weather shows in the super photographs....a crocus always looks better in the fine weather !
Thank you Tony. I agree that the very blue putative C. niveus x goulimyi could have been an extreme C. niveus, but the shape of the flower was different from the other niveus present and it really stood out as an 'odd-ball'. However, the putative C. b. melantherus x hadriaticus could not have been straight C. melantherus, as I examined the anthers very closely (extracted them) and there was no trace of black; also the corm tunic is clearly not smooth and annulate.