Identification: 'First Lady' - single pink, red calyxes, columnar shape, early mid-season

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by Ron B, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here's the description given at the site Ron linked to:

    Height and Width: 27 feet tall with a crown spread of 14 feet wide at 20 years.
    Habit: Strongly upright, almost columnar.
    Foliage: Glossy, heavy-textured, large dark green leaves.
    Flowers: Abundant, dark rose-pink, single, campanulate, semipendulous flowers open in late March in the Washington, DC area, approximately the same time as the female parent Prunus x incam 'Okame'. Dark red calyces remain ornamental for several weeks after flower petals have fallen, giving the illusion of bloom.
    Fruit: A drupe. Ovoid, ½ inch long, dark red at maturity. Readily eaten by birds.
     
  3. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    This one will be a welcome addition to the collection. Magenta-pink flowers and a narrow crown. If past US National Arboretum introductions are any indication, this one should also be relatively disease resistant. The link to the Fact Sheet is worth a look. Note that the plant breeder started the process in 1982. It took until 2004 for the plant to be available commercially, and is only now becoming available in Washington. It's no wonder that tree breeding is seldom taken up by commercial growers.

    Ron, is yours a grafted plant?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, it is on a silly elephantine-looking stock, much broader in diameter than the trunk of the scion. I intend to allow the union to become buried over a period of years, in the hope that the scion forms its own roots.

    Last year the newly potted trees in the small batch I saw at the retailer developed stem cankers, making me think this would be another hot climate adapted stinker in our area, as is 'Okame'. However, this last remaining specimen in the set does not look cankerous and is blooming well this year (it having had time to grow new roots last spring and extend them last fall).

    To me the appeal and distinction of this one is that its flowers look more like those of P. campanulata than do those of 'Okame' (and 'Kursar', which I saw in the old nursery at the Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, and thought similar to 'Okame').
     
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Ron, more like Campanulata in what way? Deeper colour?
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    More uniform strong coloration, rather than metallic red calyx with much lighter pink (mature) flower forming a clash (as in 'Okame'). This can be seen in the pictures on the USNA pages linked to above.
     

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