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  National Plant Collection of Streptocarpus

Lynne Dibley with a display of our National Collection of StreptocarpusWe hold a National Plant Collection under the guidance of the NCCPG (National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens). In our collection, we hold well over a hundred streptocarpus species and varieties, including classic varieties and more unusual species.

The collection is integral to our breeding programme – we cross many of the older varieties and species with newer varieties, to encourage different plant habits and flower colours and shapes.

We house all the varieties in our main streptocarpus production greenhouse, which can be seen if you come and visit us.

Some information about Streptocarpus

Streptocarpus are divided into two sub-genera:

Sub-genus Streptocarpella have stems. Streptocarpella are from tropical Africa.

Sub-genus Streptocarpus have no stems. Streptocarpus are from South Eastern Africa.

Streptocarpus dunii is the only true red and this has given the red to to modern hybrids.

Streptocarpus rexii was the first streptocarpus to be discovered, in 1818 at Knysna in the Western Cape of South Africa.
Streptocarpus johannis has been used to give the multiflowering habit in modern hybrids.
In the sub-genus streptocarpus, there may be one leaf, several leaves or many leaves. The single leaved plants are called unifoliates (see left). The others are referred to as rosulates.
'Constant Nymph' was the first of the modern multi-flowered hybrids produced in the 1940's at the John Innes Institute.
'Maassen's White is a mutant of 'Constant Nymph' that has lost its purple pigment.
'Albatross' and 'Snow White' (left) are artificially induced mutations of 'Maassen's White'.
In the 1970's the John Innes Institute repeated their crossings using new colours and released nine new varieties to which they gave girls names (including 'Tina').
'Falling Stars' is a mutation of S. johannis in which the flower stalks (peduncles) have become shorter and the colour has intensified. This has proved to be a very useful parent in many of our crossings.
The plants with the prefix 'Crystal' have S. kentaniensis in their parentage. This species is winter flowering and these hybrids will flower throughout the year.

At the BBC Gardeners World Live! show at the NEC in Birmingham, we had a display in the NCCPG area of the show that highlighted some of the more unusual varieties and species that we grow. The photos below are from this display. Click on the thumbnail for larger images.

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