Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Bracts have it...

Primulina eburnea from GCCC
Primulina 'Chiaki' with Colorful Bracts

Several of the Primulina species have large, colorful bracts ------ the sheath that shields the corollas that emerge as the flower unfolds.  These dramatic colorful wings will play a significant part in future hybridization of Asian Violets.  They will be just as important as the side petal on Pathiopedilum Orchids that give them a stately appearance.

            As new Primulina species are found in China by the researchers at the Gesneriad Conservation Center of China, the botanical descriptions include the bracts.  They are observed and described with size, color and even the degree of open positioning when in full flower.  Examples are 180 degree open, 45 degree open, and 120 degree open.

            Since bracts are a variable trait and since all traits segregate independently, then we would expect infinite bract possibilities in hybrids.

            I predict that some future hybridizer will specialize in bract selection.  We are already seeing that the bract color can contrast with the corolla cluster.

            The recently described Primulina ‘Chiaki’ is a great example of the exciting possibilities.  Bract/corolla combinations will enhance the flowering beyond the mundane blues that many species have.

            I predict that someday Gesneriad and African Violet shows will have a category for Primulina in flower featuring bracts.

Pathiopedilum hennisianum

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