N. 'James Gurney' by Walter Pagels:
Three new hardy waterlilies named Nymphaea 'James Gurney', N. 'Wm. Doogue' and N. 'Wm. Falconer' were introduced to the public by the firm of Henry H. Dreer in 1900. They were listed in their Wholesale Catalog under the heading "THREE NEW AMERICAN NYMPHAEAS" and in their Retail Catalog as "Three Sterling Novelties in Hardy Waterlilies". By 1901 however, N. 'James Gurney' was dropped from the Dreer catalogs while they retained N. 'Wm. Doogue' and N. 'Wm. Falconer'. At the time, the manager of the Dreer Aquatic Department in Riverton, N. J. was William Tricker.
In a Letter to the Editor of "The Garden" (February 23, 1901, page 139), under the title "ORIGIN OF HYBRID NYMPHAEAS", William Tricker gave a brief history of waterlily culture in the United States. It is interesting to note that N. 'Wm. Doogue', N. 'Wm. Falconer' and the newly introduced N. 'James Brydon' were mentioned in the letter, but N. 'James Gurney' was not. Nonetheless, N. 'James Gurney' was still mentioned in articles and books by H. S. Conard on into the 1920s even though nurseries no longer listed it.
Note that Friedrich Henkel (Das Buch der Nymphaeaceen oder Seerosengewächse, 1907) gives N. 'James Gurney' as a synonym for N. 'Marliacea rubra punctata' or N. 'Marliacea rubra punktata' depending on where you look; even Henkel has typos. Could it be that William Tricker noticed too late that he had mistakenly applied James Gurney's name to an already named waterlily, and decided to back out quickly and quietly? This is all a supposition, of course, but it may lead somewhere as more old books and catalogs are perused.
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