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Tracy

Encephalartos hybrid parents?

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Tracy

So I acquired this Encephalartos hybrid as a 1 or 2 leaf seedling in a band size container (3" x 9") several years ago.  It has proven to be a good grower.  I acquired it as a hybrid of an E blue arenarius x latifrons.  I have always wondered about how blue it is because I don't recall many 1st generation hybrids of green species with blue actually being such an intense blue.  Now as a caudex is beginning to appear, I noticed the orange colored ring collars (see photos below).  When I see that color on a collar of a blue cycad, I immediately think of E lehmannii.  The leaflets are much narrower than what I would expect if there were any latifrons  in the mix.  So perhaps some sort of lehmanii x horridus or lehmanii x trispinosis?  I might consider lehmanii and the other purported parent latifrons.

So am I reading too much into that collar color?  Since I have been thinking about this for a while I wanted to see if anyone else got one of these and has had similar thoughts.  I'm happy with the plant whatever it turns out to be, just based on structure and color, but I am curious about it's parentage.  At some point I'll have additional clues when it gets to coning size but that's quite a few flushes and years away.

20211008-BH3I5804.jpg

20211008-BH3I5803.jpg

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Cikas

 Encephalartos arenarius blue is not green. It is very silver/blue. 

Soo maybe Encephalartos arenarius blue parts of its genes are more dominant. 

 

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Merlyn

It seems reasonable that it would be a Lehmanii x something.  I have several crosses, Aemulans x Lehmannii, Altensteinii x Lehmannii, Gratus x Trispinosus, and a bunch of others like Longifolius x Horridus.  Here in swampy Floriduh they don't retain any blue coloring, but the orange rings should be obvious.  I took a quick look at the two Lehmannii crosses, both have noticeable orange rings. 

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Tracy
23 hours ago, Cikas said:

 Encephalartos arenarius blue is not green. It is very silver/blue. 

Soo maybe Encephalartos arenarius blue parts of its genes are more dominant.

Encephalartos latifrons is green.  Most green species I have seen crossed with a blue the green is dominant and the blue from the waxy coating only gives a subtle coloring.  This is as blue as any of my E horridus, princeps, trispinosis or lehmannii.  The last flush opened during a particularly damp time and some of the waxy coating came off.  Ironically, it is the older flush that is still holding the wax longer, normally it is the reverse, the older the flush, the less blue it becomes. 

Just for comparison on color from the waxy surface coating  on another blue x green hybrid, the one pictured below is another latifrons cross.  This time it is a female hybrid Encephalartos arenarius x horridus which was pollinated with E latifrons.  It shows a little bit of the waxy surface coating but not a lot.

20210916-BH3I5518.jpg

20210916-BH3I5519.jpg

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Merlyn

BTW - I was also transplanting a couple of other cycads yesterday.  I noted that a Nat x Horr also had somewhat orange-colored bands at the base of the fronds.  So did a Gratus x Trispinosus.  So maybe the hybridization brings out some recessive traits? 

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Tracy
1 hour ago, Merlyn said:

I noted that a Nat x Horr also had somewhat orange-colored bands at the base of the fronds.

I have a pair of these boys out front that are getting big, and the collars tend to be more yellow like an E horridus collar.  One is relatively close to my E lehmannii, so its pretty easy to compare their collar colors ( hard to write and to say fast many times).  On a different note, I did forget about a blue and green cross that actually shows a lot of blue, and that is the E longifolius x horridus hybrid, but longifolius is a duller green than the deep green of latifrons.

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GeneAZ

Latifrons  blood usually adds raised veins to the underside or a lustrous sheen.  I have a latifrons FE x horridus M that has no sheen, but has the raised veins and wider leaflets and tremendous curl.

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Tracy
On 10/12/2021 at 3:13 PM, GeneAZ said:

Latifrons  blood usually adds raised veins to the underside or a lustrous sheen.  I have a latifrons FE x horridus M that has no sheen, but has the raised veins and wider leaflets and tremendous curl.

I would love to see if you can share a photo Gene.  I am familiar with the veins on E latifrons, but even my pure E horridus and my largest E arenarius also have some lighter veining on the undersides.  I would put the plant in my original post in this thread (plant with questionable heritage), in the category of light veining on the underside of leaflets.  What are your thoughts on the collar color on it?  As the caudex has become exposed, these orange collars seem to scream lehmannii in its bloodline to me, but perhaps I'm missing something?

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GeneAZ

I don't rely heavily on collar color as being diagnostic of species.  Prickles and collars can be absent all together or present in inopinus.  I have nine large lehmannii and two of them don't make exposed collars at all; they are only visible years after the leaves have died or been removed.  Some lehmannii have pronounced orange/yellow collars as in Kirkwood form.  Most of mine have graduated collar color being more yellow towards the petiole and oranger towards the caudex.  

I live in a harsh desert, and this affects my plant coloring to a degree.  My available light is so intense that its effect could be to bleach some of this coloring on the collars.  Also my humidity is very low most of the year, under 10% and this affects the degree of blue, overlap of leaflets, twisting, recurvature, etc.  

My best blue arenarius has mostly absent collars, but the few that are seen are cream color.

However, my two plants of latifrons x altensteinii collected from nature have fairly pronounced cream collars like pure latifrons.

All my latifrons have cream collars.

Your plant in question doesn't seem to particularly favor lehmannii to my eye.  But it's young still.  Usually lehmannii blood produces leaflets more angled toward the rachis tip and at a more noticeable flattening toward the rachis tip.

You mentioned "lighter veining" as an observation on species plants.  The visibility of the veins -- of whatever color -- isn't the trait that diagnoses latifrons content.  It is the pronounced raised veins that is consistent.  Latifrons, heenanii, hirsutus, brevifoliolatus all have the raised veins that are diagnostic even in plants that are not well grown.

You should be well pleased, though.  These plants usually get better and better as they get bigger.  In the world of hybrids, you just never know what you're going to find crop up as unexpected traits.

 

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