Friday, January 4, 2019

Korean Queen

Korean Queen
(Sdlg#  HFKQC3)

2019 - Reeder - Tetraploid - 
Hemerocallis fulva ex Korea, Seoul National University, NA 54920 x Queen’s Circle - 
32” scape - 4.5” flower - 4 branches - 15 buds - Midseason - Semi-evergreen

Bright, dark orange in morning fading to reverse bicolor of lighter, bright orange with lavender overlay on petals with darker orange band and sepals with a double edge of dark orange and a gold wire outer edge on the petals above a bright golden-yellow throat.

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I love this little plant so much! It has far surpassed my idea of what such a cross could produce. The pod parent is the amazing Hemerocallis fulva 'Korean', imported to the US in 1984 by Darrel Apps and Barry Yinger. The pollen parent is the beautiful, but tender Queen's Circle which descends from the lovely Awesome Blossom and the tetraploid conversion of the wonderful Lavender Blue Baby. The pod parent is extremely rust resistant, and while the pollen parent wasn't, it does descend from LBB (which carries rust resistance genes, in my experience) and Awesome Blossom (which shows moderate rust resistance). The cross of HfK and QC really turned up the rust resistance, and this plant rated extremely resistant (A+) throughout all five years of my rust resistance screening program. That in-and-of itself would have made this one a useful breeder, but when it first flowered, I was really amazed to get a flower that looked so modern with ruffles, occasional small teeth, a light edge, a darker eye/edge and a lavender overlay. However, the greatest surprise only dawned on me as I watched this lovely flower over the years - it is a color-changer! It begins the day like the picture directly above, a dark orange with a slightly darker eye/edge and a lighter outer edge, but as the day progresses, the color in the center of the petal begins to fade. The picture directly below shows the flower midday, with the petal center just beginning to fade.

In the below picture, at about 5 pm in the afternoon, you can see the fading strongly, allowing the lighter orange base color to show through and the lavender overlay to begin to be visible, especially on the midrib.

The picture below shows the flower by 7-8 pm, with the fading completed and the amazing color combination it takes on showing strongly. The petal has faded out all the way to the outer dark edge, allowing the eye/edge to become very prominent and the lavender tones to really show strongly on the midrib and the petal edges just inside the darker edge. If you notice, it almost creates a third, lighter edge with the midrib lavender, the inner petal light orange, then the lavender layer on the petals, followed by the dark orange edge and finally the pale wire outer edge, all shot through with the lovely dark orange veins. The effect is very fancy, very unique and very pretty. The color-changing trait isn't just a fluke either, and this one has given me tetraploid color-changing seedlings already. I think Korean Queen will be a big boon to breeders on many levels, not least of which for this who want to work with hardy and genetically diverse color-changers at the tetraploid level.

I have registered this one as a tetraploid. I tried it repeatedly with diploids and never got one seed, and really did try it a lot over several years, as I was extremely excited at the thought of taking this plant's genetics into my diploid work. With its descent from tet. Lavender Blue Baby, I very much wanted to take it into my own Lavender Feathers (from Texas Feathered Fancy (which is from LBB) and LBB itself) family line, as I have occasionally seen extra tissue that is cristate-like on Korean Queen. However, that never panned out, as I never got one seed either direction. This and multiple other attempts with diploids strongly suggests to me that Korean Queen is a tetraploid.

Korean Queen is not just a nice flower though. It is also a very nice plant. In addition to the very high rust resistance, the plant is also attractive, making a very nice looking clump in the garden. The foliage is a medium green color and can have some spotting from late spring freezes. It shows much higher tolerance to late spring freezes than its half siblings (LMOPink and KMOPurple), but it can still get some slight damage. The scapes are nice, held above the foliage and with four branches on mature clumps. I have registered it as a semi-evergreen. I have sent it to a few southern gardens for testing, and they all confirm that (much as its pod parent and many fulva clones) it behaves as a semi-evergreen in warm-winter gardens. In my garden, it performs as a dormant, and is really close to the so-called "hard dormant". However, I chose to register it as a SEV because it does well in the south, where it is SEV and I want to get it into the warm-winter, evergreen programs where its tremendous genetic diversity, rust resistance and breeding value for rust resistance and color-changing trait can be put to good use. Korean Queen has been very hardy here in my zone 6 garden, and is currently growing in two gardens in zone 5 where it also has survived and thrived. I think this one will do well in much of the US. I have never seen it show any loss of fans or crown damage from even the harshest winters in my garden, and it increases well without fading away in warm-winter gardens. I think this one can be very valuable in many breeding programs.

In addition to all the good traits I have written about above, Korean Queen is an excellent breeder, not just for rust resistance, but also for the flower! The slide below is from my 2018 Monday Night Lights presentation in Facebook and shows some of the excellent (and amazingly well-colored) seedlings I have produced from Korean Queen. The seedlings pictured below are flowers from the 2017 flower season. I saw many more in 2018 and was completely blown away by the variation and wonderful flower traits I saw! There is a large section in my 2019 MNL presentation that will cover seedlings from Korean Queen and I hope you will take the time to see that presentation  in February or March 2019, if you are on Facebook. (Click the slide below to see a larger version)

I think Korean Queen has so much potential as a breeder, in both southern and northern programs, as well as in a variety of programs for a range of different colors and styles. While Korean Queen has a yellow throat (which I think is perfect with the rest of its colors) you can see that it can produce green throats in its seedlings.

More pictures and information about Korean Queen below.

Another shot of the whole plant. I included this picture to show the plant in a year after a series of severe late spring freezes followed by an eight-week drought. You can see some of the leaves have had the tips frozen off when they were emerging and that then creates some browned tips and brown spots. Even at that, I have seen far worse foliage on other plants, and it still looks good in the landscape. The plant shows a good scape to fan ratio and the flowers make an attractive display, often with the bouquet effect you see above even in the very dry season (and I didn't water it) in this picture. You can see here that the plant forms a clump. As with its half-siblings through HfK, this one will show slight runners that emerge from the main clump once it is established. I have been growing it in containers now for a couple of years and it flourishes, so if you are worried about it potentially spreading, that is one way to use it and contain it.

An attractive shot showing the nice flower and the well-formed buds. You can see that there is not much thrip damage in terms of enations on the buds. It shows moderately high thrip resistance, and is far more thrip resistant than both parents. While I registered it with 15 buds, an established clump can show upwards of 20+.

This picture shows a very unusual day where every flower open was much more purple than normal. It still went through the color change routine, though as the color faded, the flowers were left with dark spots scattered over the petals. Interesting! No wonder it breeds good purple and lavender!

The pictures above and the below show the flower and the plant in 2018 after it was divided and lined-out in 2017. It takes division very well and thrives, increasing quickly. You can see the fading effect in the flower above, which was photographed near sunset. The picture below shows the plant in the afternoon, about 4 PM when the fading is in mid-phase. Look at the interesting effect that creates, and it makes the flower really glow, standout and create an eye-catching effect in the landscape! You can also see some damaged leaf ends from our late spring freezes. I am happy to say that by crossing Korean Queen with more freeze-tolerant plants, I have produced many seedlings from it that show much better freeze tolerance.