Sunday, 1 May 2016

Hybrid Skunk-cabbage - First Wild Record for Britain & Ireland

Mike Wilcox has been back to Oak Beck, Harrogate (VC64), the well known hotspot for alien garden escapes downstream of the RHS Harlow Carr gardens. Previously Mike has recorded American Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) and Asian Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton camtschatcensis) at this site, the latter being the first record for the VC. Some of the plants seen previously did not quite look right for either species, but it has taken a visit this year, when they were in peak bloom, to confirm this assessment. They are indeed different and are Hybrid Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton x hortensis), the first record for the VC and the whole of Britain and Ireland.

This is one of those nice hybrids that tries to make everyone's lives a little easier by combining clear intermediate traits (cream flowers versus the yellow flowers of the American parent and the pure white flowers of the Asian parent) with hybrid vigour. That said, white-flowered hybrids also exist, but again appear to show clear hybrid vigour (e.g. the cultivar 'Billy'). The cream-coloured hybrid sometimes goes by the cultivar name of 'Devonshire Cream', which is a nice summary of the specific colour-shade of the flowers, while others describe it as primrose-yellow. Mike has kindly sent some photos, see below, that allow a compare and contrast of our plants.

Bright yellow flowers of American Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus)

Large cream flowers (some of the colour has been lost in the photo) of Hybrid Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton x hortensis)

Small white flowers of Asian Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton camtschatcensis)

No comments:

Post a Comment