Derek the Hybrid Detective

DD0509 Down with formulas !
by Derek Butcher 05/09

Towards the very end of April 2009, I was visiting Ross Little at PineGrove Nursery in northern NSW and we discussed problems caused by hybridists releasing hybrids under formula and the BSI accepting formulas as identifying plants in competition. Ross is sitting on a veritable time-bomb with records that go back 20 odd years. You see, the previous owners of PineGrove nursery kept great records of what plants had been acquired and from whom, in what is now lovingly called the Ledger. AND they had kept a separate record of the thousands of hybrids they had done but never formally registered. No deliberate culling had been done but the more resilient ones have survived.

Many of the imported plants were identified by formula and were sold as formula suggesting that the hybrid had originated at PineGrove whereas in fact it had come from overseas. Many of these have been grandfathered into the Registration system as being of Australian origin!! Reference to the hybrid list shows that remakes of hybrids had also been made which is not too bad at F1 level but chaotic at other levels. This assumes that the hybridist knew the true identity of both parents and that foreign pollen was not involved. In my non-hybridising career of some 30 years I know that I am one of the few that never trusts the name on a label!

So now whenever, I come across an identity crisis and there seems to be links to importation in the 1980’s I get Ross to check his lists and this is why so many of my recent articles refer to the famous Ledger.

I am an archivist at heart and know that many of the prolific hybridists around the world, keep records for their own benefit but that is all. The family just treat these as the whim of an ancient one. In the last 30 years I have contacted so many heirs around the world to get access to these records but to no avail.
Now you know why I believe the Ledger is great and hope that Ross continues to do the reference work!
So please name your hybrids because, if registered the name gets linked to the hybridist and its origin. As Sir Thomas Crapper would no doubt have written “The job is not finished until the paperwork is done.”

Updated 14/06/09