Daylilies forum: Very Odd Indeed

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Name: Larry
Augusta, GA area (Zone 8a)
Daylilies Hybridizer
Jun 2, 2015 2:51 PM CST
My favorite daylily color is red and I have quite a few of them, both named cultivars and my own seedlings. The three pictures below show three flowers that greeted me this morning. None of the three has ever done this before and I doubt that they will again, however they each showed a "colorless" partial segment on the same day. Out of all the other blooms this morning of all color (and there were more than 120 blooms counting named plants and seedlings) these were the only ones affected. Prince John and Jasmine Rossi are within 10 feet of one another, but the seedling is in a different bed about 75 feet away. Just thought I'd share this oddity.
Thumb of 2015-06-02/LarryW/131cd4

Thumb of 2015-06-02/LarryW/908578

Thumb of 2015-06-02/LarryW/1d30d6

Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 2, 2015 3:03 PM CST
It's called a broken pattern.
They are beautiful!
I love it when they do that.
If you ever get one that does that 100% of the time, they are worth a fortune! Smiling
Name: Betty
Bakersfield, CA
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America Roses
Irises Cat Lover Daylilies Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
Jun 2, 2015 3:36 PM CST
I have one that did that a couple of weeks ago too:

Thumb of 2015-06-02/Betja/00f107

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 2, 2015 4:34 PM CST
This explains the causes, but it was a little over my head, something to do with genes.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Jun 2, 2015 4:47 PM CST
Broken pattern daylilies are in high demand these days. H. Undefinable is a gorgeous broken pattern daylily.

Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Undefinable')
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
Jun 2, 2015 5:54 PM CST
Start dabbing that pollen @Larry W!
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
Jun 3, 2015 8:23 AM CST
Lets call the segment that is a different colour a "sector". Most sectors are probably "accidents" - something for some unknown reason went wrong while the flower was developing in the bud and that part did not develop its pigments properly. Those accidents can happen to any cultivar that produces pigments in its flowers - that is, any flower that is not pure white. The sector can be any size from extremely small (needing a microscope to see) to all the petals or sepals of the flower. Usually the ability to have those accidents is not inherited.

But sometimes sectors are caused in specific ways that can be inherited.

A daylily is made up of millions of cells. All those cells are genetically identical (more or less). Yet if we look at a daylily we see parts of the plant that do not look identical. Roots are different from stems which are different from leaves, petals, pollen, seeds, etc. How does that happen if every cell in the daylily is genetically identical to every other cell? As the plant grows and develops some of the genes in certain cells are switched on and other genes are switched off. Daylilies probably have about 25,000 different genes. For a very simplified example lets say that daylilies had only five genes - A, B, C, D and E. As a daylily grows in its seed it might turn off gene A and gene E in some cells and those would develop into roots. It might turn off gene A and genes C and D and those cells might develop into leaves and so on. With 25,000 different genes we can see that by turning on and off different genes we make a large number of different cells and tissues.

If we look at a normal red daylily flower, specifically at one of its petals we may see parts that are one colour while other parts are a different colour. In the photo of 'Prince John' above the petal edges are not red while the petal centres are red. The cells in the centre of the petal had the genes to make red pigment (anthocyanins) turned on while the cells at the edge of the petals did not have them turned on. There was an accident (a developmental accident) that caused the cells in one section of one petal to not turn on the genes to make the red pigment while the petal was developing.

There is probably a different explanation for the sector in 'Big Rose Platter'. Plant pigments, such as anthocyanin, that are found in daylily flowers are affected by sunlight. Lets say one takes a daylily bud that is about to open and places it in the dark to open. Lets say we have another bud on the same daylily on the same day that we let open in the normal sunlight of the garden. If we then compare the colours of the two flowers, and the flower colours are caused by the anthocyanin pigments they may be quite different looking. The flower that opened in the dark will have a deeper stronger colour while the one that opened in normal sunlight will have a lighter colour. The two petals with the darker sectors in the 'Big Rose Platter' flower were probably caught in the sepal on that side when the flower was opening in the morning. Because they were caught in the sepal the normal sunlight will not have reached the petal parts caught in the sepal and the sunlight will not have lightened the original petal colour. An easy test of that idea would be to remove a bud from 'Big Rose Platter' the night before it was about to open and place it in a glass with some water in a fridge or in a dark closet, or box, etc. and to compare the petal colours after the flower opened the next morning to those on a flower from the garden.

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