Little Dragon On The Prairie
Lavender with pink hints and lighter midribs, blue-lavender band above green to chartreuse throat. Occasionally small teeth on petal edges.
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This fun little prairie-dwelling dragon is a favorite from an interesting cross. Little Dragon On The Prairie is the result of going back to the tetraploid conversion of tetra Prairie Blue Eyes. The tetraploid conversion of Prairie Blue Eyes has been around for a long time, but hasn't been used much in tetraploid breeding, and its great genetic potential has made little impact on modern tetraploid lineages. The diploid Prairie Blue Eyes has consistently shown good rust resistance over many years and in many gardens, as well as other good traits such as hardiness to cold winters, great pod fertility and gorgeous clear coloring. The tetraploid conversion offers all these traits at the tetraploid level, including high pod fertility. The cross to Stardust Dragon was a natural one to increase color clarity, and I hoped to improve pod fertility in the Stardust Dragon offspring.
In Little Dragon On The Prairie, I achieved most of my goals for the cross. Bred in 2013 and germinated in 2014, Little Dragon On The Prairie went through the last three years of my rust resistance screening, scoring A+ resistance all three years. I saw the first flower in 2015, and was just amazed, both at the lovely color and at the fact that the flowers would occasionally should tendrils on the edges of the petals. While these tendrils don't show up on every flower, I see a few flowers with them each year and have seen the trait in seedlings, as well.
The beautiful, open form of Little Dragon On The Prairie is very striking, with the flower opening quite flat and the stamens often forming a swirl in the throat as in the above picture. The color is a lovely lavender, more pink some days, more blue others. The throat is green to chartreuse, beneath the darker lavender-bluish band.
The thrips resistance of Little Dragon On The Prairie is moderate and paired with more resistant partners can produce high thrips resistance. The breeding value for rust resistance is also high, as is the breeding value for very fine color.
The fertility of Little Dragon On The Prairie is very strong for pollen but only moderate for pod. I have gotten pods every year since first flower, though. Some of the full siblings that I have retained show better pod fertility, but Little Dragon On The Prairie has always had the standout flower and is excellent in every other regard. Plus, some of its seedlings will show high pod fertility, so it is well worth using in a breeding program.
The foliage is an attractive green, dormant, with no summer dormancy, which doesn't die down until the first hard freezes of fall and then stays dormant throughout the winter. There is good freeze resistance in late spring freezes. The plant shows rebloom here each year as a slightly delayed instant rebloom. I occasionally see late summer rebloom as well. The seedlings also show these excellent plant traits in high number. I think Little Dragon On The Prairie can be a great asset in breeding programs for its many fine traits and high breeding value for those traits.