Thursday, January 3, 2019

Phoenician Royalty

Phoenician Royalty
(Sdlg# TFFROG2)

2019 - Reeder - Diploid - 
Texas Feathered Fancy x Rognvaldursson - 
47” scape - 6.5” flower - 4 branches - 18 buds - Mid/Mid-late - Rebloom - Semi-evergreen - Fragrant

Deep, royal Tyrian purple flower with bluish overlay and dark purple eye with transitional orange area below eye and above throat with light bluish lavender hints in eye and midribs with darker purple edge on petals and lighter bluish edge on sepals above green throat radiating as rays into the eye.

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Truly a royal and regal flower, Phoenician Royalty is named for the Tyrian purple fabric produced by the Phoenicians and worn by royalty throughout the Mediterranean. The plant is large and the scapes are tall and thick. The flowers are large, plentiful and very, very purple. There is rebloom here every year, even in 2018 after it was divided for line-out in the fall of 2017. Fertile both ways.

The flower is a warm purple with the eye and edge often a much cooler purple, that might be called "bluish". The flower is warmer in the early part of the day and becomes overall cooler in tone as the day progresses. The flower is large, and I have seen individual flowers in the 7" to 7 1/2" range, but the introduction size of 6.5" is the average size. The eye is always electrifying - very high-contrast, in person.

The scapes are tall and strong, rarely leaning in a mature clump, usually being held upright strongly by the thick scape rising from the robust plant. While registered at 47" in height, I have seen a few individual scapes up to 55". Scapes on first year divisions average about 30" - 35" and can flail about sloppily, while on second year divisions they begin to regain their strength and hold up, go within the 3' - 4' range for height. Mature clumps are a sight to behold. 

The foliage is dark and attractive, semi-evergreen in milder winters and semi-dormant in harsh winters, in my garden. I suspect Phoenician Royalty will do well in warm-winter climates and in colder-winter climates as it has been very durable and hardy here since the winter of 2011, but I haven't had it tested yet much further north or further south, so I can't give any suggestion on the extent to which it will flourish in widely different winter climates than my own. I do believe though, that it will be useful in a wide range of breeding programs, especially for rich purple coloring, and for robust plants and tall scapes.  

The eye is very interesting. You can see in the image above that from the very first flower, the eye showed the major block-break patterns that have remained consistent throughout its years of flowering here - green into orange, surrounded by the rich, bluish purple eye. The sepals repeat the dark eye, but without the orange streak coming out of the green throat as in the eye pattern. There can be really lovely pale bluish tones of lavender on the sepals inside the dark purple band.

Monday Night Lights Slide from 2018 presentation detailing Phoenician Royalty as a seedling. Click for larger image. The mature scapes show 4 branches very consistently. The bud counts average 18, but I have seen nearly thirty on an established clump in a good year. The above slide references extreme high end statistic numbers, while registry numbers reflect the average, rather than an extreme in either direction. 

In addition to the incredible plant, Phoenician Royalty is fertile both ways and has proven to be an incredible breeder for me. I have used its pollen widely and have raised many seedlings with it as pod parent, as well. While pod fertile, it can refuse to set pods in dry weather, and for me at least, rebloom scapes always seemed to set seeds better than the first round of scapes. However, with that said, I still produced a large number of seeds from it over the course of 2013 - 2017.

The rust resistance of Phoenician Royalty is moderate, ranging between a high B + and a low A during the five years of testing, averaging a B+ for the five-year total. It never had a year with no rust, but it never had a year where it was extremely heavily effected. The breeding value for rust resistance is moderate, as I did get a few extremely resistant seedlings from Phoenician Royalty that went through 2014, 15 and 16 testing, but only when Phoenician Royalty is bred to something more resistant than it is.

Thrip resistance is moderately high in Phoenician Royalty throughout the time I have grown it. It can show some effects, but not significantly, and far less so than its pod parent. It can produce very good thrip resistance in some of its seedlings.

The seedlings above and below are full siblings from reciprocal crosses, with the one above being (Substantial Evidence x Phoenician Royalty) and the one below being (Phoenician Royalty x Substantial Evidence). Both plants are exceptional! These two have rather simple flowers, but the substance is unreal, especially on the one below. Both flower mid-late to late. Both have large plants with attractive, dark green foliage that holds up well in the garden. The scapes are well-branched and tall. In all ways the one below is robust. One of the largest daylily plants, and the largest diploid I have ever grown. It is always mistaken for a tetraploid. However, in breeding tests, I can't get it to set with any tetraploids I have tried (and I have wasted a good amount of the breeding potential with this one the last few years trying it with a wide range of tets). Phoenician Royalty is not fertile with tetraploids, either. So I do suspect these plants are all diploids, just very robust. Both of these seedlings are selects from the 2014, 15 and 16 rust resistance screening, and both rated A+ all three years for resistance. I find their unusual size and substance, along with the potential for rust resistance breeding, to be very exciting!

The seedling below is another special find in the seedling bed. It is Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi. I am very encouraged by the narrowness, the pattern and the color. More encouragement for working with both parents.

As you can see below, the flower can be quite flat and structural. This is one of my favorite flower forms in daylilies.

(In the picture above I had picked the stamens for pollination before I took the photo. This happens sometimes due to oversight, but sometimes I prefer to photograph the flowers without the stamens to get an unobstructed view of the throat and eye patterning. The picture below shows the normal stamens with their very fertile pollen).

Phoenician Royalty, above and below, showing some level of cristation in each picture. In the top picture, there is slight raising of tissue on the petals, which appears like a thin, white streak on the orange area of the eye. In the picture below, the cristation is the recognizable mid-rib style. I have produced very few cristates from it, but I have focused on the size and coloring of Phoenician Royalty, rather than the potential for breeding cristate forms. I am certain that it will be useful in cristate breeding, with Texas Feathered Fancy as the pod parent.