Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruby Snowflake

So gorgeous. From the inside, out!

Definitely looks like Mr. Lees/Cactus Pete derived this beauty from Knebel's "Heureka" (AKA Mussolini). You can see the legacy of this bloom in the Evelyn Shiraki hybrids, they have that same lovely form and shimmer to them.

1 comment:

  1. (Abstract J. Bockemühl), Knebel’s multi-petaled hybrids – a search for what remains. In 1926, Curt Knebel in Erlau (Saxonia) pollinated one of his epicacti labelled no. 43 with the pollen of an unknown plant. Among the offspring of this cross three plants showed the unexpected and unusual traits of multi-petaled flowers (nos. 92, 93, and 94). No. 92 was named ‘Mussolini’, a name later changed to Heureka, no. 93 was named ‘Phyllocactus flore pleno’ (later most often called ‘Flore Pleno’), and no. 94 was named ‘Königin’ (initially also ‘Anna Hitler’). The first two hybrids had “violet petals with salmon-pink shading”, the latter was white with yellow outer perianth elements (Knebel 1934, 1951). Knebel recognized the peculiarity of these hybrids and recommended to continue hybridising these plants. He finally was able to obtain one fruit from a cross between nos. 92 an 93 but it is unknown whether fertile seeds were produced and if so what happened to them. During World War II Knebel’s nursery was obliged to grow vegetables, and during the extremely cold winters following the war nearly all of his plants died. Thus, it is unlikely that the few plants existing at that time survived in Germany. However, Knebel had sent many of his originations as well as seed to collectors and nurseries in California. A number of Knebel hybrids still in existence have been raised in the U.S. from his seeds and have been registered after his death. We still have a photograph of Heureka made by Paul Fort in 1952, proving that at least this cultivar had reached California. – In 1997, the late Raymond Eden reported about a lost multi-petaled cultivar named ‘San Diego’ which had been registered in 1953. He speculated that this plant might have been raised from seeds obtained from Knebel’s first cross in 1926 from which ‘Heureka’ and ‘Flore Pleno’ originated. This, however, appears unlikely with regard to the long time interval but it might be speculated that seed from the 1934 cross between nos. 92 and 93 could have been involved.

    The author discusses the possibilities for the appearance of Knebel’s multi-petaled plants and comes to the conclusion that a mutation was most likely. As spontaneous mutations occur rarely it cannot be excluded that seeds from Knebel’s hybrids were also involved in some later multi-petaled cultivars. Eden (1997a, 1997b) discussed Ruby Snowflake, a multi-petaled hybrid which appeared after the war and which was then registered by Cactus Pete nursery. The origin of this cultivar is unknown but the stems and the flower morphology are similar to the description of Knebel’s plants. Cactus Pete likely was one of the persons who had received material from Knebel. ‘Ruby Snowflake’ then became one of the hybridising partners of Wressey Cocke’s famous “fifties series”, another lineage of multi-petaled epicacti. – For a long time, the author had tried to find a vestige of Knebel’s multi-petaled hybrids somewhere in the world. Finally, he heard from Rudi Dorsch in Houston, Texas, that he had obtained a plant labelled Heureka from a Californian epicactus collector. This man had received it 25 years earlier from another Californian who was a friend of the owner of Cactus Pete nursery. Cuttings of this plant were grown in Klaus Rippe’s collection in Spain and have flowered. The flowers largely agree with Knebel’s description of this cultivar but with regard to the long time interval, the troubles of World War II and the long “odyssey” of this hybrid the origin cannot be ascertained. Therefore Klaus Rippe tentatively named this cultivar “Rudi’s Heureka”.