Extinct Trumpets - Where are they?
Extinct Trumpets: The old De Graaff trumpet stains of ‘Copper King’, ‘Black Dragon’, ‘Moonlight’, and ‘Green Magic’ are no longer with us. When the Old Oregon Bulb Farms was purchased by Cebeco Lilies of Holland, the seed parent stock of these varieties all were part of the purchase. At that time, B & D Lilies was supplied with the same material by then General Manager Jack Kroon before the turnover. We divided our stock with another grower to help insure their safety. When Cebeco closed the doors of its US operation in Oregon, they had their fields were plowed.
John Steinbeck said it best, “The best laid plans of mice and men. . . .” We lost our seed parent stock several years ago along with several thousand other trumpet bulbs when the Willamette River in Oregon flooded a newly planted field near Independence. The bulbs simply washed away. We wondered if the Willamette was able to carry them to the Columbia River and if they ever made it to the Pacific and were eaten by a salmon, but we will never know. The other seed stock clone bulbs were also lost through a series of events which is another subject not to be covered here.
The problem with strains is that you must have a stable and genetically strong clone for your mother bulb for seed production, without mama, you can only breed “siblings” and as with dogs, cats, or humans (which is why there are laws), with each successive generation, the recessive genes take over. As a result, you end up with each generation being weaker than the one before and all kinds of mutations begin to manifest themselves. There are still “pseudo” strains floating around the market under the old names, but none are the original De Graaff varieties but are many generations removed from his original selections. While the jobbers are happy to continue marketing them as such, we do not.
We do have excellent selections from the original strains that are in the process of being cloned, but we are still some years away from introduction. ‘Black Dragon’, which in reality is the species L. leucanthum centifulium was bred from a superb selection of that species made by Mr. De Graaff and identified as simply ‘M-12’. It is now gone and as such ‘Black Dragon’ will forever be extinct. Though ‘Black Dragon’ does show up from time to time on the market, bulbs we have purchased have always turned out to be the species L. regale. We do have a super selection of ‘Copper King’ which indeed might be a surviving ‘De Graaff OG-16’, but we can not verify that and as such it will eventually be offered as ‘Copper King Clone’. Of great news is that we did save ‘Tropical Isle’ and with the next scaling and two more years of growth, she should be back in limited quantities the fall of 2014. This is if Mother Nature gets us out of this record cold cycle and we finally get a “normal” spring and summer. This all takes time and we write this that it will hopefully answer the many questions we receive concerning the old De Graaff trumpets.