The Aubergine color in Fuchsias
Anyone who invented or used the color name Aubergine in the Netherlands for the first time is unknown to me.
Usually the people who describe Fuchsias intensively do not find the names "cherry red", "petunia blue" or "saintpaulia pink" etc. a correct name for flower colors. You might as well say lilac-colored, but you have those lilacs in white, various colors blue, purple and light purple blue and so you do not know what is meant.
It is better and more customary to use real recognizable clear color names such as red, pink, blue, white, green, purple etc. or combinations there of, such as pink red. If you want to be even clearer for the registration of plant colors, for example, the addition of a R.H.S. color number. These numbers are created by comparing the plant colors with the color swatches that occur in the four thick ranges with color charts.
These fans together contain 203 colors, each of which is divided into four different gradations. For example, a corolla may have 76 B as color number, and the calyx may be slightly darker in color than 76 A.
These color fans were compiled at the time by the Royal Horticulture Society (R.H.S.) in London, in collaboration with the flower agency Holland.
These cards contain all colors that occur in flowers and in plants, even black.
Left second edition from 1986 Right fourth edition from 2007
Photos: S. van Schaik.
After the first edition in 1966, there have been some adapted reissues.
This number and comparison method for flowers and plant colors is used worldwide and has been reasonably good until now.
Only our contemporary technical progress proved better. The arrival of the color spectrometer makes it better and more accurate nowadays, but these color recognition computers as I call them are still extremely expensive and therefore still rare in the flower and plant world. Moreover, capturing colors with a spectrometer and the naming of those colors is a
time-consuming and complicated matter.
For determination of a cultivar it is unsuitable because such equipment for flower and plant lovers can not be paid.
I wrote before that the colors on the maps had already been adapted to the new developments in the field of flowers and plants. But with the latest edition of ± the end of the eighties we are apparently not there yet, because unfortunately our now common color Aubergine is hard to find in this latest issue. Some color swatches come close but usually it is just in between!
The Aubergine colors of the RHS color chart.
Photo: S. van Schaik.
But why the color name "Aubergine" customary in the Netherlands?
This is not so bad and is also explicable. If you look at the surrounding countries how the Aubergine color is described there, it becomes a puzzle.
In the Netherlands, Aubergine is similar to the dark edible fruits that are bought at the greengrocer, but ... an aubergine is from the plant genus 'Capsicum' and in that genus fruits come from white (eggplant) from dark purple to almost black!
And that is also the case with our so-called Aubergine-colored Fuchsias. There is also a huge variety of Aubergine colors, from light to dark, from purplish pink to purple brown and when the flowers ripen to reddish-brown.
So the name 'Aubergine' is actually not that weird yet. It is strange that people sometimes talk about black Fuchsias!
A black Fuchsia does not exist and will never exist just like black tulips or blue roses. These extremities are often praised and sold for big money, but keep track of something that is really black, and you will discover that it is not long after the color black. To check that is in the color ranges of R.H.S. pure white and black included, so that one can clearly see the deviation in the color of the plant part that you keep.
A 'Foolke' descendant.
Photo: S. van Schaik.
That rarity of Aubergine colored Fuchsias is no longer there. You can fill up your entire garden with various Aubergine-colored Fuchsias, so I think that if you look into your garden in summer, you will not get any happier, unless you like a sombre and sad lifestyle!
So far the name of the color Aubergine.
Even stranger is, as you probably know, that all flower colors are assigned a symbolic meaning, such as red for love, white for purity and innocence, etc. but what symbolism will then fit with so-called black flowers. In any case, not the mourning color I thought because then white flowers are often used, and white is in many Eastern countries, e.g. also the color of mourning.
Let's just say that a black flower color is rather bleak. But what makes Aubergine colored Fuchsias so popular with Fuchsia lovers ... I do not know!
Probably the same given as people who want to plant a black tulip or blue rose in their garden, they want a curiosity or rarity.
'Rens van Dommelen'
A 'Foolke' descendant.
Photo: S. van Schaik.
I already told you that the color Aubergine has been around for a long time at Fuchsias, and that's why we come across the two other facts about the color Aubergine and ... .. when and how that color originated with our Fuchsias.
In England, not much attention was paid to the fuchsia Whiteknights Amethyst (Wright GB 1980), and in the Netherlands the plant was also circulated for a while, it said first under a different name. And no matter how strange it sounds, many Fuchsia enthusiasts who now like the Aubergine color ran by and so he disappeared from the rotation (and also from the garden). We just did not like it then!
Another hybridizer, Mr. Lutz Bögemann from Leezdorf in northern Germany, who was a member of the Groningen region at the time, was also such a hybridizer who was really looking for something different than what was customary. Of course he also had the silent wish to show the yellow Fuchsia the light, but for the time being he wanted to grow an inverted Fuchsia for himself.
So not red and blue but blue tube and chalice with a red crown! Because he was reaching, he used to be parents
Mrs. W.P. Wood, a Fuchsia with lots of magellanica blood, and the New Zealand species F. excorticata and F. perscandens.
Photo: Camborne-Redruth Fuchsia Society
Intensive crossing work, however, brought him very different results than the desired blue flower tube and calyx with red crown. He had, to his own surprise, two aubergine-colored Fuchsias lit up. They also had a name 'Okke' and 'Nimke'. Both Fuchsias had a lot of interest within the Fuchsia association, but unfortunately these two outsiders did not survive our winter conditions.
But Bögemann had the taste and continued his chosen path.
He made a crossing of F. excorticata with 'Ting a Ling'. The seedling that came out of this was crossed with a seedling that originated from mother F. magellanica var. alba and father F. presscandens. Thus in 1987 'Foolke' and 'Foline' emerged, both of which were the first two normal floral aubergine-colored Fuchsias in 1987 by the V.K.C. were approved.
Photo: M.A. Soeters
For that, another similar crossing was approved in 1984 and
'Rina Felix' from Mr. van't Westeinde senior.
It was also a cross between two species from two different continents and F. fulgens var. gesneriana
(from South America) and F. colensoi from the New Zealand section.
However, 'Rina Felix', and also the sister seedling 'Tarra Valley', were not aubergine-colored Fuchsias but do have a lot of dark hues, including brown, which turned out to be a strong color for further inheritance.
Jack & Joan Lamb
The first aubergine colored Fuchsia 'Whiteknights Amethyst' was not so popular in 1980, 'Foolke' and 'Rina Felix' were extremely popular 10 years later!
From 'Rina Felix' became the first plants to grow in the private greenhouse of Dhr. van't Westeinde were to be tested for usability, already stolen during the open days of his nursery before they were inspected. Thus, the company's catalog also stated that there was a ban on the possession of 'Rina Felix' and warned of criminal prosecution for possession of plants or cutting material from 'Rina Felix'.
Only two years later the plants came into circulation along the usual route. With 'Foolke' the same thing happened, one of the two young 'Foolke' plants that Heinke nursery in southern Germany had received from Lutz Bögemann to circulate through his company disappeared after a Dutch company of "Fuchsial aficionados".
Photo: H. van der Post
We now know that both 'Foolke', sister 'Foline' and also 'Rina Felix' and sister 'Tarra Valley' are often the ancestors of the aubergine-colored Fuchsias that we see today. But striking is that the first offspring of 'Foolke' and 'Foline' were not brought into circulation again.
That too had a reason. Because despite their sometimes beautiful appearance these plants had other defects. There was a nice medium-sized plant with saucer-shaped flowers in aubergine color, a real gem to see. This plant flourished reasonably, but as an adult plant it was not able to fill a 10 cm flower pot with roots!
These plants naturally required a lot of care and were very vulnerable and difficult to get through the winter.
In many cases, the roots seemed to grow downwards, this is called negative geotropy! This problem was later overcome.
__________ X _________
'Foolke', as an ancestor, has the largest share in the contemporary series of aubergine-colored fuchsias, with the second 'Rina Felix', which is often produced by the somewhat exotic, and therefore more interesting, ancestors with a somewhat brown tint. Especially at crossings where also orange-colored parents have been used.
There are also often beautiful, and separate dark-colored flowers that also remain dark colored longer in the annealing.
Next in the row of ancestors of our aubergine-colored fuchsias, 'Zulu Queen' by Dhr. H.J. the Graaff. This is a descendant of 'seed parent' Rosea 'and pollen parent' F. excorticata '.
From this story it is clear until now that the craftsmanship of the conscious hybridizers, who have created these plants with their unexpected color, is clear.
After all, they first tried out all the features of their novelties, and assessed them in all aspects before putting them into circulation!
Then it became a huge hype. Every hybridizer had to put an aubergine-colored Fuchsia in circulation. Everywhere you saw both approved and unapproved aubergine cultivars popping up without the people offering or putting into circulation being aware, or realizing that one uses the crossbreeds carefully cultivated by others.
And that only because of the curiosity of the aubergine-colored Fuchsias.
A 'Foolke' descendant.
Photo: S. van Schaik
The Aubergine, which is dominant in inheritance, also made it possible to score easily.
In other words, the carefully obtained properties of the first Aubergine Fuchsias was milked to the last drop as it had never been before with a new Fuchsia color, and then also in a way that makes the ordinary fancier the trees in the proverbial forest full of aubergine colored Fuchsias can no longer distinguish.
As quickly as this hype arose he disappeared again. Hopefully our contemporary real hybridizers will be able to introduce the new colors that will soon be there, such as yellow and peach, in such a way that it is not so easy to continue working with them in such a redundant way.
We will see how that develops.
Author M. A. Soeters 2016