The Quest for a Blue Hardy Waterlily
The Historical Perspective
Article by Pairat Songpanich, Thailand
Translated to English by Guntapon Prommoon,
Edited by Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat, Thailand
Click images to enlarge
In the more than 100 year history of pollinating hardy waterlilies,
the color blue has never been achieved. Various journals and
publications have talked about the elusive goal of achieving
such a feat.
Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac of France stated the following
in The Garden, "The New Hardy Water Lilies", in 1893:
". . . important task remains to be carried out, namely,
the hybridizing of the Castalias (today subgenus Nymphaea) with
plants of the Cyanea section (today subgenus Brachyceras) which
includes a great number of superb blue-flowered Nymphaeas. This
is a work of which is well calculated to stimulate the enthusiasm
Latour-Marliac stated again the following in The Garden, "Hardy
Hybrid Water Lilies", in 1899:
"I should not bring this dissertation on Water Lilies
to an end without bestowing a few words on the splendid section
of the Cyanea, or blue Water Lilies. It is greatly to be regretted
that hitherto all attempts to cross them with their hardy congeners
of the northern hemisphere have so far failed. It would be a
great triumph to add to the already sumptuous collection some
hardy hybrids of a sky-blue colour with a delightful perfume."
More recently Jacqueline Reditt wrote the following in the
Cyprus Weekly, Christmas Edition 1989, "The Quest for the
Hardy Blue", about Andreas Protopapas:
"You can never tell by appearances. Andreas Protopapas
is, at face value, a mild mannered, conventional man who earns
his living as the chief engineer of an offshore company based
in Nicosia. Yet, after his family, his abiding passion is water
lilies. And while other men dream of making their first (or next)
million, a new car or scoring the winning goal for Cyprus in
the World Cup, Protopapas devotes himself to creating the world's
first 'hardy blue'.
". . . A dreamer he may be, but Andreas Protopapas has few
illusions about his chances of creating the elusive blue. 'It
would be worth thousands of pounds but, to be honest, the chances
are remote.' But he does have hopes for succeeding in the creation
of a new hybrid in the near future, and he already has a name
for it. 'It will be called Nicoletta, after my wife.' "
Helen Nash wrote the following in Water Gardening (April 1996),
"Perry D. Slocum: An American Legacy":
"Perry's hybridizing efforts have been primarily focused
on two goals: developing free-flowering hardy water lilies that
are resistant to crown rot and striving for the elusive blue
hardy water lily.
The other of Perry's hybridizing
goals, the blue hardy lily, is an exciting quest. At this time
blue water lilies occur only among the tropical water lilies.
The special challenge of trying to hybridize a hardy blue lily
is overcoming the difference in chromosome count between the
hardy and tropical species."
Perry D. Slocum
Photo courtesy of Timber Press
Lastly, in the year 2007, an article "A Hero of Water
Gardening: Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac, The Lily Man" on
the website www.watergardenermagazine.com said the following
"Many of his experiments were doomed to failure because
there was no possibility on a genetic level of there being any
union between any of the hardy lilies and the tropicals. If he
ever realized this, he never let on, but it did mean that his
very ultimate ambition, the production of a hardy blue lily,
would be forever unachievable, since the blue producing genes
lie only with the tropicals of the Apocarpiae Group like the
Egyptian Nymphaea caerulea."
Even though years and decades have passed, water garden hobbyists
and enthusiasts still carry on the quest of their predecessors
until the ultimate goal is met.
Conard, Henry S. 1905. THE WATERLILIES, A
MONOGRAPH OF THE GENUS NYMPHAEA. The Carnegie Institute of Washington.
Washington D.C. p.86-87
Knotts, Kit. 2003 HOW
DO YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TROPICAL AND HARDY WATERLILIES?.
Latour-Marliac, Joseph Bory. 1893. THE
NEW HARDY WATER LILIES. The Garden, Dec. 23, 1893: 582-584.
Latour-Marliac, Joseph Bory. 1899. HARDY
HYBRID WATER LILIES. The Garden, Mar. 18, 1899.
May, Peter John.. 2007. A HERO OF WATER GARDENING: JOSEPH BORY LATOUR-MARLIAC,
THE LILY MAN. www.watergardenermagazine.com
Nash, Helen. 1996. PERRY
D. SLOCUM: AN AMERICAN LEGACY. Water Gardening. April 1996.
Pagels, Walter. 2000. CHROMOSOME
COUNTS OF WATERLILIES AND OTHER NYMPHAEACEAE. www.victoria-adventure.org
Reditt, Jacqueline. 1989. THE
QUEST FOR THE HARDY BLUE. Cyprus Weekly. Christmas Edition
Slocum, Perry D. 2005. WATERLILIES AND LOTUSES:
SPECIES CULTIVARS AND NEW HYBRIDS. Timber Press, Inc. Portland,
Oregon, U.S.A. 260 p.
Nymphaea 'Siam Blue Hardy'
The World's First Blue Hardy Waterlily
English | Thai
- Pairat Songpanich