Neoregelia Takemura Group
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Neoregelia ‘Takemura Grande’ - a cold case or is it? By the Cultivar Registrar 2007
This name came on the scene in the early 1960’s when apparently seed of a hybrid was sent to Takemura in Japan from Richter in Germany. Takemura in turn shared seed or seedlings with Davis in Florida. Ever since 1978 when James Elmore wrote on the ‘Fabled Takemuras’ in Grande Vol. 1 #1, I have wondered what a ‘true’ Takemura Grande’ should look like. Regrettably we will never find out but it is good fun finding out some facts and putting forward some ideas. It is a pity that after all that investigation, James Elmore did not bite the bullet so to speak. For example pages 18 and 20 show photographs without captions. What does the nicely laid out photo on page 18 represent? (photo1) Thanks to my Friendly Ferret, Helga Tarver in Florida, I now have an idea what those around in the 1980’s think about it. The consensus seems to be that the centre plant is ‘Takemura Grande’ surrounded by ‘Takemura Princeps’(photo 2). These names are really grex names with each plant showing some differences. On page 19 we see a photo of ‘Takemura Grande Silverado’ which is the first time we are introduced to ‘Silverado’ and I have a feeling that the name ‘Silverado’ got attached to any plant in the group with silvery leaves. Further investigation into this particular hybrid is given below. On page 20 we see a photo by Herb Hill (photo 3) but not what it represents. And on the same page there is a plant with a blushing centre. Is this supposed to be ‘Takemura Crimson’? (photo 4)The photo that is even more intriguing is the one on the front cover of ‘Grande‘ (Fantastic Gardens)(photo 5) from Coolbaugh’s collection which does not link with the ‘Grande Fantastic Gardens’ note the subtle difference!. So things were confused even then.

What can we do now, that they did not do in 1978? First, we have a Computer data base of Cultivars and second, we have digital cameras! DNA testing would be useless! In any cold case investigation you always return to the scene of the crime. Therefore all references outside Florida are considered to be anecdotal only.
If you do a keyword search on the Cultivar database on ‘Takemura’ you get 100 hits, so a range of cultivars have been used over the years in hybridising programs. If you search on ‘Grande’ you get 12 hits. So there is plenty to investigate.

While the searching for similar names is easy, the problem is in plants with wrong labels. Thus ‘Takemura Grande’ can be shortened to either ‘Takemura’ or ‘Grande’ or added to such as ‘Takemura Grande Silverado’.
Let us reduce the problem a bit at a time. We now know that Neoregelia ‘Grande’ has nothing to do with the ’Takemura Grande’ problem.
The 1998 Cultivar register shows ‘Fantastic Gardens’, Mentelos* < 1973. but we now know there is no direct link with ‘Takemura Grande’. Elmore in Grande 1(1): 19. 1978 refers to ‘Grande Fantastic Gardens’ (H Quilhot), ‘Fantastic Gardens Grande’( C. Coolbaugh), and ‘Fantastic Gardens Grande’ (R Coleman) ALL different! The single word ‘Grande’ was also used by Mentelos in the early 1970’s.(see Kent’s catalogue 1979) All appear to have filial links and you would expect variations in a grex BUT none of the variations were defined or are possibly too small to be defined. One of the hybridists involved in this was B. Dean Fairchild and he reports the following in May 2005 about ‘Grande Fantastic Gardens’(photos 6&7) “ Obtained from Robert Wilson’s nursery ‘Fantastic Gardens’, Miami and looks like a cross of N. concentrica or N. melanodonta x N. coriacea because of the shape, dark tips and few spines of the leaves. It has slightly thicker leaves than N. concentrica and a coloration more like N. coriacea (a little darker than N. concentrica and a light dusting of trichomes) with an occasional unstable reddish line the length of the leaf and up to its width in some of the leaves. This variegation may appear on some pups and not others”.
I am using this as an example of what ‘Fantastic Gardens’ and all the other variations of this name should look like.

We now move to the 4 hits you get by entering ‘Takemura’ as a cultivar name. We can reduce these to two very quickly because ‘Mini Takemura’ did not emerge until the 1980’s as too did ‘Takemura Crimson’ Neither of these have had photographs taken that can be said are truly representative and we do not know if the latter one was a grex!

This leaves us with ‘Takemura Grande’ and ‘Takemura Princeps’.

‘Takemura Princeps’(photos 8&9) seems to be an unanswerable problem. There is no direct link in Davis’s papers to the second batch of plants/seed but if it can be linked to [johannis (was it the right one?) x ‘Vulkan’], this is a F2 generation and you would expect variability. Perhaps Bob Work , as reported, is correct in saying that ‘Takemura Princeps’ has different origins in Europe but these too could be traced back to Richter. In any event, it does go reddish in the centre that you would expect with the influence of N. concentrica as a grandparent. Here again we do not have an authentic photo other than the one in Grande I, assuming that the photo at the bottom of page 20 is this plant and not ‘Takemura Grande’!.

‘Takemura Grande’ appears to be a primary hybrid (F1) and as such the plants/seed that Davis got as ‘Gigant’ would have looked very similar and could be treated as a cultivar rather than a grex. Why Davis changed the name to Takemura Grande’ is unknown but nobody seems to be growing a Neoregelia ‘Gigant’. In ‘Grande’ Magazine 1978 Elmore reports seed raising in this ‘Takemura’ group and various different clones. The problem here is that he does not differentiate with clones originally received in 1962 with clones obtained at F2 level ( Viz seed from ‘Takemura Grande’) in the intervening 16 years. Some were given cultivar names and some not, to add to the mystery as to what is really a ‘Takemura Grande’ Those not given special cultivar names were, no doubt, still referred to as ‘Takemura Grande’ creating a cultivar group. Note here that a Cultivar group is one containing similar looking cultivars irrespective of parentage, as distinct from a grex which covers the progeny from the one crossing.

The first reference to ‘Silverado’ comes in the Grande Magazine Vol1 #1 page 19 where we see ‘Takemura Grande Silverado’ with a photo (Photo 10).It seems to have distinct silver banding on the top of the leaves. It is stated that Coolbaugh has many different clones and this was just one. The next reference to a plant with a similar name is JBS 29(6) 266. 1979 where Coolbaugh registers a ‘Grande Silverado’ with parents (johannis rubra x ‘Takemura Grande’). Is it the same plant? In the 1991 Preliminary Listing we see the first reference to ‘Silverado’ a cultivar of ‘Takemura Grande’ named by Coolbaugh according to Odean Head, AND ‘Grande Silverado’ referring to the JBS 1979. In the 1998 Register ‘Grande Silverado’ disappears but ‘Silverado’ is there showing parentage of (johannis rubra x ‘Takemura Grande’).To my mind past investigation has proved that there is only one ‘Silverado’ and it is not a clone of ‘Takemura Grande’ but a later hybrid. My problem is that Michael Kiehl who bought out the Coolbaugh collection from the estate of the deceased has on offer a ‘Takemura Grande Silverado’(photo 11) which bears no relationship to what we know as ‘Silverado’ or the photo in Grande but does have silver banding on the underside of the leaves. We must also not forget the photo of ‘Grande’ in JBS 23: 202. 1973!!!(photo 12).

This whole exercise is just another example of the problems caused by changing names. How many times have you heard the cry “Why are the taxonomists changing names again?” AND yet here we have a system with cultivars where it is unnecessary to change names but growers and sellers do so!

What is going to happen to the other ‘Takemura’ references in the register? Well, nothing! Remember that reported parentage is not expected to be completely accurate and as with humans, it does not matter what your parents are, you are what is on your birth certificate. Without photos it is hard to make decisions but I’ll be using Takemura Group in the register to link similar looking plants. At the moment these are ‘Takemura Grande’, ‘Takemura Princeps’, ‘Deep Purple’, ‘Ninja’, ‘Silverado’ , and ‘Southern Pride’. If you have plants you cannot name at cultivar level you can call them Takemura Group.

One big problem that will never be solved is where old nurseries are purchased and mistakes made in the past are inherited and passed on as gospel. For example at the Florida West Coast Show in October 2004, Penny Bullard from Orlando bought a ‘Grande’ whose photo is shown. (photo 13)
My plea is that registration of hybrids should be at front of the mind of any hybridist and especially those who are commercial.

Updated 16/03/17