I have been promising to give a full report on what I am doing with Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming (PP835) but I am afraid you will have to wait a bit longer for the report. I recently discovered something very exciting about Hibiscus Lord Baltimore which I had to share with you. Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming will produce flowers with extra petals and stigma and seed pods with extra chambers, which I reported on here:
Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming will routinely produce flowers with six and seven petals with stigma and seed pod chambers to match. Working with the Annie J. Hibiscus I became very good at spotting the atypical Hibiscus flowers associate with extra petals. A little over a week ago, as I passed my Hibiscus Lord Baltimore, one flower caught my attention. Without even counting the petals, I know it had more then the usual five petals. When I inspected flower, I found six petals and six stigmas. The flower was not in a good location to photograph and I didnít pollinate the flower with Hibiscus Moy Grande, which would have yielded seeds.
On September 19, 2012 a second six petal flower with six stigmas was produced, photographs of which are attached. Again I elected not to pollinate the flower with Hibiscus Moy Grande. A hundred years ago Ernest Hemming thought he was on the trail of a hardy Hibiscus double. I strongly suspect that one of the breeding objectives for Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming was the creation of a hardy double.
This past summer, I have had the opportunity to work with two tropical Hibiscus, one of which was a double. Both tropical Hibiscus had the usual five stigmas.
I am beginning to suspect that the hardy Hibiscus with extra petals are not the path to a hardy double but something else entirely. One of the major contributions which Ernest Hemming made to Hibiscus breed was the Hibiscus coccineus x Hibiscus laevis (sym. militaris) cross which allowed the color red to be transferred into hardy Hibiscus. In the history of Hibiscus breeding, this cross was only done a few times. I am beginning to suspect that the extra petals and stigmas has something to do with the Hibiscus coccineus x Hibiscus laevis cross but have absolutely no proof, which would require duplicating Ernest Hemming original breeding program.
Next summer if you are growing Hibiscus Lord Baltimore, please be vigilant for flowers with extra petals. There have been other reports of hardy Hibiscus with extra petals, which almost always involve red flowers. Until you become sensitized to spotting the extra petals, you are going to have to count petals. I would estimate that Hibiscus Lord Baltimore is producing extra petals at less than 5% the rate of Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming. I would be very interested in any reports of flowers with extra petals or stigmas.
Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times, itís enemy action.
Well it looks like I have my third Hibiscus Lord Baltimore with six petals and six stigmas. This time I decided to pollinate the flower with pollen from a Hibiscus Moy Grande, with a five petal flower. If all goes well and Nutley NJ has another month of reasonable warm weather, I should have a picture of a six chambered seed pod by the end of October and perhaps even seeds. Three picture of the flower, the stigma and the pollinate stigma are attached. I am beginning to suspect that there may be a connection between Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming, which was patented by Ernest Hemming in 1947 and Hibiscus Lord Baltimore, which Robert H. Darby reported first bloomed in 1955. Ernest Hemming and Robert Darby lived only 50 miles from each other, as the crow flies, when they created their respective Hibiscus. I have noticed that many of the Hibiscus with extra petals are red and this may not be a coincidence.
Also attached are pictures of a Hibiscus Moy Grande flower with seven petals and six stigmas which I took on October 12, 2011, which was a cold rainy day. For now, would everyone be on the lookout for Hibiscus with extra petals?
Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge with us. Will the Lord Baltimore and Moy Grande have to be in bloom at the same time to pollinate OR can pollen be stored for pollinating on flowers of one of the plants that bloom a week or two later?
[quote="plantsforpeg"]Will the Lord Baltimore and Moy Grande have to be in bloom at the same time to pollinate OR can pollen be stored for pollinating on flowers of one of the plants that bloom a week or two later?[/quote]Peg,
Both my Lord Baltimore and Moy Grande are in what I call their second bloom season and will continue producing flowers and hence pollen until late October or first frost, whichever comes first. Based on what I learned this year, I am going to have to test Annie J. Hemming pollen on Lord Baltimore next year.. The Annie J. Hemming stopped blooming at the end of August this year as did most of my hardy species Hibiscus and named cultivar.
I have been seriously thinking about storing Hibiscus pollen but have not located any reference sources which I consider reliable. That is not the case with other flowers where pollen is routinely stored. I am still searching the literature for any reference. As I try more exotic crosses, the storage of Hibiscus pollen is becoming a real issue for me. My more immediate problem is preventing accidental self-pollination. I would be interested in any sources pertaining to pollen storage in Hibiscus.
On the morning of September 26, 2012, my Lord Baltimore produced a flower with seven petals and five stigmas. As I was not interested in a five chambered seed pod, I didnít pollinate the flower. I am getting into new territory here, as these results are totally unexpected. In all likelihood the Lord Baltimore has been producing flowers with extra petals all along, most likely in the fall with cooler temperatures. The Hemming grandchildren were unaware that the Annie J. Hemming was producing flowers with extra petals until I sent them a copy of Dr. Harold Winters paper which documented that fact. If you are not looking for something, you are not going to find it.
Again I want to caution everyone that I no longer believe that this is the path to a hardy double. It is something entirely different; I just donít know what that something is just yet.