Saturday, 4 April 2009

Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia maximiliana hort. ex Hook. f.
Botanical Magazine t. 7655. vol. 125, 1899.

The earliest notice which I find of this plant is that specimens of it were exhibited at a show of the Royal Horticultural Society in February, 1879, by Mr. Green, gardener to Sir George Macleay, K.C.M.G., of Pendel Court, Bletchingly. There are excellent specimens, communicated by Sir George, preserved in the herbarium at Kew. As stated in the Gardeners's Chronicle of that daye, it attains eight feet in height, four feet in diameter, and blooms for a long time. This was followed by Mr. Hemsley's notice of the plant as D. Maximiliana, Hort., in October of the same year, in his account of the known species of Dahlia, with the observations that the stem, seven feet high, is lenticillate, the leaves bipinnate, with relatively slender petioles, and the flowers unknown. In December of the following year I received some flowers of it as D. Maximiliana?, from E. H. Woodall, Esq., of St. Nicholas House, Scarborough, with the information that the plant producing them was eight feet high, had excited great admiration, from the delicate mauve colour of its anemone-like flowers and that as it [May 1st, 1899] succeeds the chrysanthemum, it should prove a valuable addition to winter-flowering conservatory plants. Up to the present time there has been no description of the species but that I here give. Of the origin or introduction of the species I have found no record. It is regarded as Mexican, probably correctly, as that country is the headquaters of the genus.

As a species it is difficult to assign to D. Maximiliana botanical characters that would by words form distinguish it from some forms of the common D. variabilis, Desf., than which it is a very much larger plant, with a more branching fistular? stem ; the foliage more resembles that of D. imperialis, and, except, in the lovely colour, resemble those of D. variabilis.

The specimen from which the accompanying figure was made was kindly sent in February of this year (along with other interesting plants to be figured in this work) by Commendatore Hanbury, F.L.S., from his unrivalled garden at Palazzo Orengo, La Mortola, Ventimiglia.

Previous post concerning Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia imperialis Roezl ex Ortgies
syn. Dahlia maximiliana hort. ex Hook. f.

Dahlia maximiliana hort. ex Hook. f.

Bot. Mag. 125: t. 7655. 1899

Gard. Chron. ser. 2, 11:216, 12:525. 1879, nom. nud.

= Dahlia imperialis Roezl ex Ortgies

= Dahlia maxonii Saff.

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