Chimaera penstemon

Submitted by Kelaidis on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 06:11

This is 'Shades of Mango'--that incredible hybrid produced (I think) by David Salman at High Country Gardens. He sent it to me years ago, and I got a miserable orangy thing that disappointed (and wondered if he'd lost his mind). Then I got husky plants from Kelly Grummons at Timberline and planted them out. For year or two they thrived on my dry garden, and then started to go haywire--parts of them turning orange rather than mango shades, and finally reverting to generic and not terribly exciting pinifolius...

What a pity that the variable color form didn't persist: has anyone had it do so?


Submitted by Lori S. on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 19:41

Unusual colour (on the other monitor, at any rate; I have to admit they look pretty yellow-ish on this monitor, however) but I will take your word for it that they are mango orange!   I'm curious about the "chimaera" reference - a strange hybrid, perhaps, but not actually grafted, right?  
I'm not familiar with it at all - what we see here is the species and 'Mersea Yellow' - that's it.   :-\

EDIT:  Oh my gosh, when I make these postings, I guess I need to consider the effects on my karma!  I had no idea there was a direct relationship, well, any relationship, actually!   ;D  

Submitted by RickR on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 23:37

I see yellow too, and I suspect that that is the "mundane" pinifolius he speaks of.  With my limited knowledge of chimaeras, it would seem that mutations would fit the anomaly better.  But I really don't know.  I am more familiar with chimaeras relating to foliage and stems, as well as  individual flowers, rather than this.  Perhaps we need a short tutorial?

I removed my P. pinifolius (the type and 'Mersea Yellow'), as they never seemed very happy for me. 

Submitted by RickR on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 00:18

P.S. I think we could all use a little positive karma.  ;)

Submitted by Kelaidis on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 09:33

I apologize about the photo: I shall have to see if I have a closer up one. The flowers are really a blend of yellow and orange on the original plant (which I recalled vividly and colored my own perception of the flowers). I call it a chimaera because it is not stable--the red and yellow genes on the flowers are obviously battling)...

I was curious if anyone else had had the experience of its genetic instability....

Submitted by Hoy on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 10:24

If it is a chimera the plant consist of cells from two different individuals. Hence it is not the genes that battle but cells. It is not uncommon by plants to revert to more "primitive" traits. In heterozygotic individuals seemingly dominant genes do not need to stay dominant, the "recessive" ones get the upper hand. This has to do with regulation of gene expression which is a complicated matter.

Submitted by Mark McD on Sat, 03/06/2010 - 07:24

A chimera penstemon appeared in my garden a few years ago, from self sown seedlings of P. digitalis.  After observing it for a couple years, this past summer I concluded the plant seems stable, so this year I will separate it from the regular green-leaf seedlings with which it is intertwined.

Submitted by Kelaidis on Wed, 03/17/2010 - 07:32

Very cool, Mark: I will intrigued to see what comes of it.

Glorious blue skies and a high of 70 today: I'm gonna play hookey! Don't tell anyone...

Submitted by Mark McD on Wed, 03/17/2010 - 07:48

Kelaidis wrote:

Very cool, Mark: I will intrigued to see what comes of it.

Glorious blue skies and a high of 70 today: I'm gonna play hookey! Don't tell anyone...

Well, I'm on a state of semi-permanent hookey ;D ;D  I'm actually getting to see my crocus blooms, this year 2 weeks earlier than normal, and did some pollen painting yesterday.  Blue skies here today too, in the 60s.