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The intergeneric hybrid (nothogeneric) name ×Gastonialoe was published in CactusWorld for crosses with the parentage Gasteria × Gonialoe (Walker, 2017). The latter genus consists of just three species formerly included in Aloe: Gonialoe dinteri, G. sladeniana and G. variegata (Manning et al, 2014).

The cultivar ×Gastonialoe ‘Gordon Rowley’ was named to commemorate Gordon Rowley, long time champion of such hybridisation, as summarised in his new book (Rowley, 2017). This has the parentage Gasteria batesiana × Gonialoe variegata and is clearly intermediate between its parents.

At the time I somewhat prematurely noted that “interestingly, in the 27 years that I have grown this plant I do not recall it ever having flowered”. However, three plants have subsequently flowered, so this contribution to Plant of the Month is an update on my earlier description to include information on the flowering.

0618 Fig1xGastonialoe Gordon Ro

Fig. 1 xGastonialoe ‘Gordon Rowley’ in glorious flower in a 9cm diameter pot

The inflorescence is up to 25cm tall, unbranched with a single raceme up to 14cm long, with flowers very loosely (laxly) arranged (Fig. 1). Flowers are pendulous, up to 3cm long, with predominantly pink tepals, pale cream at the tips and a central green stripe. One of the parents, Gasteria batesiana, has a gasteriform perianth with only a slightly basal swelling and a modest curve, unlike other species in this genus which have very prominently basal swelling of the perianth. In most dimensions, therefore, this intergeneric hybrid has inflorescences and flowers smaller than either of its parents. In many respects the inflorescence is closer to that of its Gasteria parent. The three rosettes that have flowered are somewhat immature, so perhaps future flowering events might include taller, perhaps even branched, inflorescences produced by fully mature specimens.

The immediate question is why I have had to wait 27 years to record flowering of this hybrid? As a partial explanation all I can offer are the following observations. In 2016 my largest clump of this hybrid was divided and the rosettes rooted separately. In the spring of 2017 these were potted up separately, so perhaps fresh potting compost and the mild Scottish climate have triggered flowering.

Finally I will reiterate that this is a very attractive plant that deserves to be widely grown. In comparison to Gonialoe variegata, which I personally do not find easy to grow at all well, the hybrid is robust, reasonably easy to grow and propagate and hence is closer to its Gasteria parent in terms of appeal in cultivation.

Colin C. Walker

References

Manning, J., Boatwright, J.S., Daru, B.H., Maurin, O. & van der Bank, M. (2014) A molecular phylogeny and generic classification of Asphodelaceae subfamily Alooideae: A final resolution of the prickly issue of polyphyly in the Alooids? Syst. Bot. 39: 55−74.

Rowley, G.D. (2017) Succulents in cultivation – breeding new cultivars. British Cactus & Succulent Society, Hornchurch, Essex.

Walker, C.C. (2017) A new intergeneric hybrid: x Gastonialoe ‘Gordon Rowley’. CactusWorld 35: 21–22.

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