Musaefolia Peruviana, genetic volcano

Musaefolia Peruviana, genetic volcano

It has long been asserted by the Royal Horticultural Society that C. ‘Musaefolia’ does not flower in the United Kingdom. This caused us some consternation, as two of the three types in our collection do give flowers very late in the season and also give seed. However, the largest and most majestic, which we now know is C. ‘Musaefolia Peruviana’ AnnĂ©e, had never flowered for us. It is obviously that variety of the Musaefolia’s that the RHS were referring to when they passed that comment.

Well, the combination of the RHS assertion, our own observations and a quest for adventure and danger was enough to stir us into accepting the challenge, plus the extra electric bills over the whole winter! So, three years ago we kept the plant growing over the winter and in May and June of the following year it flowered for us outdoors.

The flowers were a revelation, being orange instead of the red colour we had been led to expect, and they also provided us with some interesting sights. Unfortunately, being May, there were no other Canna flowers to try and pollinate, and although self-pollinating, we had no seed from the flowers.

But most amazing was the genetic volcano that was revealed. Two of the three flowers had an extra staminode, see top photo, and one of them also had two anthers, one on either side of the stamen so that they did not interfere with each other. The photograph right shows another flower with two separate stamens, each equipped with a single anther. The photograph was taken using flashlight, so the colour on that photograph has been corrupted.

To summarise, we enjoyed the following variations:

  • Four staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, one anther, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, two anthers, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, two stamens, each with its own anther, one style.

Contrast that to the normal canna cultivar, where we have 3 staminodes, 1 labellum, 1 stamen, 1 anther and 1 style. As the style is connected via the tube to the ovaries it unlikely that we would ever see two styles, but I suppose that even that variation might be possible.
The variations are of significance to hybridisers, as it would be interesting to cross this Foliage Group cultivar with our modern day Crozy Group cultivars and attempt to introduce extra staminodes into our current garden varieties.

Caron Sabine

The gardening society for orchids and other garden plants

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