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Fascinating Florets


There are many examples of both species delphiniums and cultivated types for which there is no clear distinction between sepals and petals. Their flowers can truly be described as double.


A favourite double delphinium with especially perfect formal placement of the coloured bracts is 'Alice Artindale' shown here. When the flower buds start opening, they are beautiful, like perfect little rose buds. The beauty fades as the flowers age because the centres open.

Curiously, plants of 'Alice Artindale' sometimes have flowers with distinct sepals and petals. These are fertile seed producers, whereas the double flowers are sterile.

Stunningly beautiful doubles occur in selections of the red-flowered Californian species, D. cardinale and similar doubles are also found among yellow variants.

Both types are fertile and come reasonably true from seed.

It would be interesting to know if these double forms of D. cardinale are tetraploid?

Tetraploid forms of red D. nudicaule x D. cardinale were used in crosses with garden hybrids to produce the 'University Hybrid' strain of red delphiniums. Many of these lovely plants raised by Professor R.A. Legro have fully double flowers.

A common feature of double flowers is an increase in the number of carpels and an open centre makes them obvious. This cluster of carpels is rather unattractive and spoils the flower, especially when the carpels become contorted as they develop.

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