July 21, 2014

xEnchotia Ruby

I have one but what do I do with it?
xEnchotia Ruby is Encholirium horridum x  Hechtia rosea

From BSI. org:

Bromeliad Cultivar Register

Spineless mature terrestrial rosette to 1.5 metres diameter x 1 metre tall. Arching bronze green leaves each 110 cms. long x 6cms. wide tapering to a point. Massive, erect inflorescence to 1.75 metres high, red-stemmed and multi-branched with ruby sepals and suffused red / pink / cream petals. Tropiflora code #5739. Reg. Doc. 8/2011 by Dennis Cathcart
Country of origin: Florida USA

Seed Parent: Encholirium horridum

Pollen Parent: Hechtia rosea


New Bigeneric genus: x Enchotia by Geoff Lawn in J Brom Soc 61(3): 138. 2011 In August, 2011 the nothogenus x Enchotia ( Encholirium x Hechtia) was first recorded in the BSI's Bromeliad Cultivar Register under ICBN Rules (Vienna Code 2006) . Its breeder is Ray Lemieux, employee at Tropiflora Nursery in Sarasota, Florida who created this cross in February, 2006 and he also coined this new bigeneric genus name x Enchotia. Seed Parenl: Encholirium horridum L.B. Smith. Contr. Gray Herb . 129:32, pl-3, figs. l-3, 1940. Pollen Parent: Hechtia rosea E. Morren ex Baker. Handb. Bromel. 140. 1889.

 x Enchotia ‘Ruby’
Geoff Lawn

BSI Cultivar Registrar

It took Florida breeder Ray Lemieux “only” 5 years of cultivation (2006-2011) from seed to produce the first blooming new bigeneric x Enchotia ’Ruby’ (Encholirium horridum x Hechtia rosea ). Considering that both parents are heavily spined, the several dozen seedlings showed a surprising outcome --the majority were spineless, or nearly so--with a few small random spurs.  A second and third repeat of the cross using different clonal forms of the same parental species produced similar mixed results. So the smooth edged clones share the grex name of ‘Ruby’ whilst the prickly forms are collectively called x Enchotia ‘Ruby Star’, both of which greges may exhibit slight clonal variances at maturity. This phenomenon of spineless progeny from prickly parents has become rather common in, for example,  Aechmea fasciata  cultivars or hybrids, but is less seen in the Pitcairnioideae sub-family genera. Noted smooth-edged exceptions are  Dyckia ’Naked Lady’ ( encholirioides x brevifolia), Dyckia hebdingii hybrids  and some Encholirium crosses (pers. comm.--Dennis Cathcart).

 Under good growing conditions x Enchotia ‘Ruby’ is a large terrestrial, the mature rosette reaching 1.5 metres diameter and nearly 1 metre tall.  The arching bronze green foliage comprises about 150 smooth leaves each 6cms. wide tapering to a point and to 110cms. long.  The erect inflorescence stem, 5cms. thick at its base, rises to 1.75 metres average height above the rosette crown.. The massive red-stemmed raceme has up to 32 branches with ruby sepals and suffused red/pink/cream petals, indicative of its hybrid genes. The spike is initiated mid-Winter and blooming lasts about 8 weeks over Spring.  When the inflorescence is spent and preferably removed, basal pups emerge slowly between lower leaf axils, or are visible from the main stem if lower leaves are stripped to allow more light and encourage offsets.

x Enchotia ’Ruby’ is destined to mound into tight clumps if not divided, just as with its pollen parent Hechtia rosea , now classified as  synonymous with  former H. macdougallii  L. B. Smith. This tough Mexican species hails from Oaxaca State and is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on separate, individual plants, as are all Hechtias. The seed parent Encholirium horridum , a lithophyte from Espirito State, Brazil is mostly monocarpic --rarely or never offsets.

Undoubtedly x Enchotia ’Ruby’ will become a staple, sun-loving feature xerophyte planted in the garden landscape,  adaptable to tropical, sub-tropical and temperate climates, but also can be grown in extra large soil-filled containers for full sunlight positions. 

Published in BSI Journal, May-June, 2011. pp.138-140.     

Below is Encholirium horridum x Hechtia  macdougallii old label  the new label should read Encholirium horridum x Hechtia rosea
Photo from 2009 at Tropiflora
Hechtia  macdougallii  is now Hechtia rosea
Photo from 2009 at Tropiflora

No comments: