Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images to enlarge
Last summer (2002) we began watching a volunteer seedling that, even with just submerged leaves, looked like an Australian from the subgenus Anecphya. It was growing directly next to a Victoria in our Dune pool. The first floating leaves were unusually dark and oddly shaped. This continued so we waited anxiously for its first flowers.
The seedling grew right through the winter, small but healthy, and resumed growth very early in the spring. We have known since last fall that we wanted to propagate this plant but have been afraid to risk losing it. Recent list discussions and suggestions from Rich, Sean and Craig have made us willing to dig it up and try to get it to tuber.
The seedling is unusual because the flower looks like one from the Normanton group of lilies collected and introduced by Andre Leu but the pads are distinctly different. We and Andre speculate this is a cross of a Normanton and something else. We grew several Normantons sent to us by William Phillips in this pond in 2001. Growing in the pool at the same time were gigantea 'Albert de Lestang', several unnamed capensis type hybrids, an unnamed pink "vortex" from Rich Sacher and 'Amethyst Splash', an ampla hybrid, presumed sterile. Ampla itself was growing about 100 feet away.
We mention this because the pads have several characteristics of ampla and ampla hybrids. The sepals are streaked similarly to ampla and the pads are "pocked" as often seen in ampla and its hybrids. Rich and Craig have probable Anecphya/Brachyceras hybrids -- William Phillips' has been confirmed by DNA analysis. We wonder if this could be another.
We have given this plant the working name "Lion". It was dug up April 14, 2003, and the flower to the right in the above image was first or second day then. We'll see how many days it stays open (five or six so far).
What we think we will do is let Lion float a while in hopes that it will shed the roots that run the length of the rhizome. Then we will do a chop-and-drop, replant the crown, and try Sean's method for making side plants. We agree with Lou's suggestion that we not use a plastic bag around the roots for fear of cooking it but may consider a fabric bag of some sort. The end of the rhizome is firm and might make a new tuber itself and we wouldn't want to lose it in the pond.
April 19 - Lion's roots and rhizome are now enclosed in a canvas drawstring bag, anchored to the pond bottom with a rock.
May 3 - Lion managed to get some roots over the canvas bag and into the soil. We restuffed them into the bag. As we hoped, the rhizome is losing roots and appears to be making a "neck" that may allow us to detach it without risking the plant itself. No small tubers yet. We have bred all the flowers since we dug the plant up. They have not "crooked" but they haven't rotted off and are slightly enlarged and firm.
May 24 - After seeing Sean Stevens' technique for getting big tropical rhizomes to multiply and, given that Lion was shrinking markedly, we got brave and removed 2/3 of the rhizome with a knife. The crown had been on its side anyway and somewhat reoriented to vertical so we replanted it that way in the same Victoria hole where it grew so well the first year. The V. amazonica that will share the hole is not ready yet. Lion should have time to recover before it has to share its space. The rhizome was "operated on" by Sean's method, placed in a ziplock bag and floated.
2, 2003 - Lion has thrived through the summer, still not producing
any cubs or seeds. It totally overwhelmed the small V. amazonica
that was supposed to share its hole. We had to dig the ama
up to save it. Last month, when our 'Longwood Hybrid' in the
interior garden still failed to thrive and flower, we plant a
small one of the same lot with Lion in the higher light of Dune.
Both 'Longwood Hybrids', made from a Paraguayan cruziana
and a very maroon Brazilian amazonica, were quite maroon
as infants and juveniles but seem to require very high light
to retain that quality as they get bigger. Right now the Victoria
pads and Lion's new ones are almost exactly the same color.