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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Yes, it really IS a hybrid hellebore - we have the proof!

Posted by Graham Rice on 16 Oct 2008 at 01:17 PM

Remember a few weeks ago I told you about ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’, a spectacular new hellebore that was reckoned to be a hybrid between H. niger and H. orientalis? Click here to see the earlier post. Well, doubts were expressed that it really is a hybrid - in spite of this fairly convincing picture.

Now geneticist Ben Zonnenveld of Leiden University in The Netherlands has proved the point. He tested ‘Walberton's® Rosemary', H. niger and H. orientalis using a simple technique called flow cytometry which measures the quantity of DNA a plant carries. Repeating the test a number of times to be sure, he found that the amount of DNA in ‘Walberton's® Rosemary' is pretty much half way between that of H. niger and H. orientalis. Which indicates that it is indeed a hybrid - the first ever to be available to gardeners.

‘Walberton's® Rosemary' will be available in garden centres, including RHS plant centres, in January and February next year under the Farplants brand.

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