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Startling in their beauty,
are they good for Victoria amazonica?

The White Ones

by Kit & Ben Knotts
Click images to enlarge

In 2006, we were very surprised to have a Victoria amazonica that was white the second night rather than the brilliant red we love so much. Read about it in WGI Online 1.4. Now, in 2009, we have two of them!

The White Ones are startling in their beauty. The white is contrasted against deep maroon streaks and stripes on the inner petals. Ivory paracarpels are tipped with light red, as are the stamens. This coloration is consistent throughout the life of the plants, not occurring just occasionally.

Each year since 1998, we have grown multiple examples of both Victoria species, amazonica and cruziana, as well as at least one each of the primary hybrids, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Longwood Hybrid’. Though we do this for the pleasure of it, our primary goal is seed production and we have become the “pedigreed” seed source for much of the world. We are very careful about the purity of the plants we grow and keep detailed records. We review each year in “Our Adventure With Victoria”.

In as many cases as possible, we trace all known cultivated Victorias back to their wild origins. These pedigrees can be found here. For our own breeding plants, we grow only amazonicas that originated in the wild, notably Brazil, and cruzianas from Paraguay and Argentina. We know the locations, dates and collectors. One of our self-appointed missions is to keep these wild lines going. As a result, we pay attention to the quality of the lines and grow the strongest of each. This raises the question in our minds – are the White Ones good for the species?

Since V. amazonica is typically red the second night, the White Ones must be genetic aberrations. In all aspects except the second night color and the fact that occasionally flowers don’t open, they are completely typical of the species. Does beautiful and unusual trump possible genetic weakness?

In making the primary hybrids this year, we have used a “normal” red amazonica. Our fear in using a White One would be to wash all the color out of second night flowers of ‘Adventure’ and ‘Longwood Hybrid’. Their range of medium pink is, for us, very attractive, especially compared with pale pink cruziana.

V. amazonica

V. 'Adventure'

V. 'Longwood Hybrid'

V. cruziana

It is interesting to note that it was lot number 05A19 Presnell that produced the 2006 White One 06A13 Knotts. Two generations of self-pollinations later, 08A14 Presnell has produced BOTH of our 2009 White Ones. 

Pedigree of the White Ones

V. cruziana, V. 'Adventure' and the white
V. amazonica on a cold October morning
        98AWP4 Skinger et al Brazil 
    00A56 Knotts   
      99R41 Thiele, Nutt, Skinger Brazil 
  01A06 Knotts   
        98AWP11 Skinger et al Brazil  
      99A40 Knotts  
                  98AWP9 Skinger et al Brazil  
              00A54 Knotts   
          02A24-2 Knotts      
            01A50 Skinger et al Brazil   
        03A18 Knotts         
      05A19 Presnell - produced the White One  
    06A13 Knotts - The White One        
  07A18 Presnell               
08A14 Presnell - produced the 2009 White Ones      

Looking ahead, even with the risk of genetic weakness, it would be appealing if we could develop a line of V. amazonica that is consistently white the second night. To that end, we have self-pollinated the larger plant and crossed it to the smaller one. The white x white should have even greater potential for more White Ones in subsequent generations. We will continue to keep them separate from “normal” amazonicas and the hybrids. 

2009 Victorias Around the World

WGI ONLINE Journal Table of Contents

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