Friday, January 4, 2019

Temple Of Bacchus

Temple Of Bacchus
(Sdlg# HCITPS9)

2019 - Reeder - Unknown ploidy - 
Hemerocallis citrina x Papa Smurf - 
66” scape - 6” flower - 3-5 branches - 15-20 buds - Midseason - Semi-evergreen - Fragrant 

Bright, clear purple bicolor, sepals a paler purple with medium purple petals and a blue-purple band above bright green throat.

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Named for the Roman temple dedicated to Bacchus, which sits upon a massive, mysterious, ancient platform in Lebanon. Bacchus was the deity of wine and revelry, drunkenness and madness. The beautiful, intense purple coloring of Temple Of Bacchus is like radiant grapes and wine. This cultivar's ability to create seeds with both ploidy levels and its own unknown ploidy make it as confusing and exciting as a bacchanalia.

Temple Of Bacchus has been striking from the first flower. Even before it flowered, I knew it was going to be something special. It was always head-and-shoulders above its siblings from the time it germinated. It was the largest seedling and always dark green with little damage or blemish to the foliage. It also turned out to be extremely rust resistant, the most resistant consistently of all its siblings. As the scapes emerged for the first time, I was very excited by the height and by nice branching. But when the flower opened for the first time, I thought I might cry! In my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined I would get such a rich, clear purple, with such a bluish eye, from the backcross to a yellow species clone - H. citrina (Halinar clone #2).

Most of the siblings were much more what I expected - most slightly muddy, lavender-ish with of dull eyes that were a darker purplish-wine color along with a couple of muddy, pinkish/darker-pink-eye seedlings. This one though was exceptionally pretty from the beginning. The mature clump is extremely pretty with scapes averaging 66", some will reach up to 72". Young divisions and young fans in mature clumps average 3 branches, with mature clumps showing mature fans with 5 to 7 branches. Bud counts average 15 - 18, but can go up to 30+ on the mature scapes. The gorgeous, dark green foliage is tall, but arches over gracefully and gives a beautiful display on its own and is a lovely anchor for the tall scapes. 

The slide below, from my 2018 Monday Night Lights presentation on Facebook, details how this cross was made. It was a very intense process, but I felt it was necessary to be as sure as possible about this cross. Do note that the registered branching and bud counts are lower than those mentioned in this MNL18 slide below. The registry data is the average I have seen over the time I have grown the plant. The data in the slide below is the high end that is sometimes seen on mature clumps, but even then may not be seen on every fan that produces a scape. 

(I register all of my introductions based upon average numbers, rather than either high or low extremes, so you will note different numbers based upon which count is being discussed throughout my writing about any given plant from my program).

Temple Of Bacchus is more than just an interesting and beautiful novelty - it is extremely fertile, working with diploids, known triploids (fulva clones) and tetraploids. Most of my work has been with crossing Temple Of Bacchus to registered tetraploids, but I have also crossed it with various clones of Hemerocallis fulva with success, and I have crossed with with multiple diploids with success. In diploids, the list I have successfully crossed it with include Hush Little Baby, Little Grapette, Zelazny, Galaxy Explosion, Volcan Fuego, Heavenly Angel Ice and several of my own seedlings. I made multiple attempts to cross this one to Substantial Evidence, going both ways, with no success. However, I did have success in crossing it with tetraploid offspring of tetra Substantial Evidence. It has been extremely fertile for me with tetraploids and I have crossed it with a large number of them from the mid to late part of the season, when Temple Of Bacchus flowers.

The slide below, from my 2018 Monday Night Light presentation, shows some of the seedlings that I particularly like from Temple Of Bacchus. I think it is going to be extremely good for both purple and spider types, in conjunction with high rust resistance and attractive foliage.

The seedling pictured below is a wonderful surprise from Temple of Bacchus. This one is consistently broken-patterned, and some of its siblings also show this look, with less rich coloring. I suspect there is a lot hidden in Temple Of Bacchus for breeders to exploit. I also think it has use to open more bottlenecked lines at various ploidy levels. My own focus has been with polypoid/tetraploid level plants. I hope others will also use it in this way, but some will also want to use it at the diploid level. I think Temple Of Bacchus has so much to offer!

The photo below shows Temple Of Bacchus after sunset with the new flowers open for the night. They first open at about three to four in the afternoon, being fully open by sunset. They remain open all night and being extended are open throughout the morning, beginning to close just before the next set begin to open in the afternoon. I gather pollen from the afternoon opening flowers, finish drying it in the house and then use it the next day on diurnal flowers. Since I have used it predominantly with diurnal flowers, most of its seedlings are diurnal in my program, but they must carry nocturnal genetics. When crossed with other nocturnals, I have seen predominantly nocturnal flowers. It should be useful in breeding both opening-time types.

Temple Of Bacchus through the years...
It was germinated in late 2012, going through the last four years of my rust screening with extremely high resistance. It is thus a four-year tested A+. 

Below you will find flower and clump shots, along with more information.

At sunset

The lovely, dark green foliage is semi-evergreen and the plant is very hardy here. Much like H. citrina, it is fairly dormant in a very cold winter here, but in warmer winters here, and when grown in a warmer climate, it performs as a semi-evergreen. I suspect Temple Of Bacchus will be hardy further north. I will be very interested to hear how it will do in colder climates. It does well in warmer-winter climates and I think that is very important, as it allows the species genetics and the rust resistance genetics of Temple Of Bacchus to be taken into warm-weather programs where endemic rust is a real problem.

Here on a rainy, gray afternoon, the old flowers are still open in the late evening while the next round of flowers are starting to open.

Freshly opened flower at sunset - above

The scapes hold up well. On young divisions, the scapes are shorter than on mature clumps, so hold up well, while on mature clumps, the taller scapes are also fairly strong, but they can lean with several wilted flowers from the previous day and benefit from deadheading. The high fertility can result in heavy pod-load and that will also cause the scapes to lean at times. What I have found to work well is to weave the leaning scapes into the firmer, mature scapes, creating sort-of an obelisk-like formation that holds up extremely well. If this were just a seedling from two hybrids, the scapes might have caused me not to introduce it because I am obsessed with strong scapes that don't fall over, but I think the multi-ploidy fertility, species parent and extremely high rust resistance along with breeding value for rust resistance in combination with warm-climate survivability make this one too valuable for breeders, and too unique for collectors, to not introduce it.

The flower is a narrow open form that shows moderate thrip resistance, but is not as strong in this trait as I would like, though it will produce improved resistance for thrips in its offspring when it is crossed with partners that are highly resistant to thrips. Even in a non-sprayed garden in the presence of thrips, though, it still looks very good for a flower of this color.