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Sugar Magnolia. Parsley tendrils?

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  • Sugar Magnolia. Parsley tendrils?

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    Some of the tendrils on my Sugar Magnolia plants have what I think are called parsley pea tendrils.

    I'm wondering whether Sugar Magnolia always has this tendril form and whether it's found in many other varieties

  • #2
    Interesting :O A mutation? Sugar Magnolia is supposed to have 'hypertendrils'. If a so-called 'hypertendril' pea (I believe the scientific term is 'afila') is crossed with a tendril-less pea (sometimes referred to as acacia-leaf) the offspring have parsley leaves.


    • #3
      There was exactly the same question on fb just a day ago. You are certainly not alone there. If a normal pea is crossed with a parsley leafed pea you get hypertendrils or semi leafless. This is presumably a recessive trait. And changes with mutation to the dominant form, which can happen, or by a cross. Must study leaf forms and their genetics.

      This is what peace seeds (Allan Kapuler's seed company) says about the creation of his Sugar Magnolia hypertendril pea. "Unexpectedly, the cross of a Parsley Bush Pea with a Purple Podded Snap Vine Pea generated the hypertendril trait. Hypertendrils are very distinctive, they hold a population of peas together, a useful self-supporting characteristic." But he also found that not all the seeds they produced were of plants with hypertendrils. When they sold the seeds, they also said this 'We have two seed batches for this purple snap vine cultivar. We will pack the hypertendril cultivar first and then when it runs out, we will use a seed stock that has a mixture of tendril types: regular, hypertendril and vetch (no tendrils) and parsley.'
      I bought seeds which were normal leafed but got a present from Jayb from her strain of hypertendril aka semi leafless. So far they have been stable as expected, but it would not surprise me to find an instability or a late emergence of parsley leaves or another leaf form, given the above remarks. We must remember that this was bred by a very gifted amateur breeder and akin to Tom Wagner's breeding and Brad Gates's, instabilities and plants that are not entirely uniform can be expected. Whether this is analogous to the situation with Yellow Furry Hog, or Furry Yellow Hog or Yellow Furry Boar tomato, I wonder?

      Unless you particularly like the parsley leaf trait which does not cling to supports, I would not save seeds from those. It will also be interesting to see whether the pea pods are as expected. If not, there may have been a cross.
      Last edited by Galina; 06-05-2020, 05:19.


      • #4
        Actually, I’ve just found a reference here ( to Sugar Magnolia being “a cross between ‘Parsley Bush’ pea and ‘Purple Podded’ vining pea”.
        Also HSL hold a pea called Parsley Pea ( which has leafy tendrils. I thought it was a type rather than a specific variety but not sure now.

        There’s also a discussion here ( which suggests that Sugar Magnolia can have various tendril forms - regular, hyper or parsley - or even no tendrils. As much as anything the discussion focuses on the negative attributes of some of these variants. I haven’t yet seen my parsley leaves as at all negative. They are apparently highly edible.

        I have no idea how often this parsley leaf form crops up. I haven’t seen much mention of it elsewhere.


        • #5
          Thanks Galina. Very interesting. Your message came through after I’d written mine above and I hadn’t found the a Peace Seeds information.

          Could you elaborate on why you wouldn’t save seeds from the parsley leaf form? Are you thinking that Alan Kapuler’s first released batch of just hypertendril were the ones he considered most desirable, and therefore best to keep the line true to that form? Or do you think the parsley leaf form has some inherent disadvantages? Just that it doesn’t cling? Connected with that, I wonder why Kapuler chose the Parsley pea to breed with. I guess in a shorter form non-clinging is less of a problem.

          Presumably your regular leaved SM would be just as likely to throw out a parsley leaved as they would be from the second batch Kapuler released? Or perhaps I’m missing a point.

          I’d be interested to know which Facebook forum the question was asked on.

          My seeds came from Plants of Distinction. I think I’ve got about half or more hypertendril and half or less parsley leaf. The hypertendrils are supporting the parsley leaves. I’ll look more closely later.


          • #6
            I would not save from parsley tendrils because a pea without tendrils does not cling and has to be tied up, not just coralled. And this is a tall pea which makes that more of a chore unless like in your case, there are plenty of hypertendril types that provide support for those parsley types. As I said above I would not save from them, unless you particularly like that trait and don't mind the extra work.

            There is no 'true' line as such. This is an 'amateur' bred and selected pea with genetic variations not a uniform pea. I am not familiar with pea leaf or modified leaf genetics and need to learn it. I cross with a hypertendril variety and some of the offspring are hypertendril types others not. I don't know the genetics, but observe and save seeds accordingly. Uniformity was not on Kapuler's mind but rather wonderment at these novel tendrils. But there was a certain 'commercial pressure' or 'disproportionate interest' into the (then) novel trait of 'hypertendril'. Now the 'semi leafless' peas are quite widespread, also in commercial production, because they prevent lodging or falling over in wind which makes them easier to harvest mechanically. The trait may have always been around in agriculture, or Kapuler's peas have been the first to attract everybody's attention to the feature. I wish I knew more myself. As to why he started making that cross you had better ask him, just possibly simply because 'it was there' and he was curious

            There is (from my side) no value attached either way, apart from avoiding extra work with a long vined variety that does not cling. The person on fb who asked was in UK also. Chances are they had the same source of seeds. I will ask and mention that another UK gardener had the same experience, without naming names of course.

            Yes the normal foliage type might also throw up other forms, but perhaps less so. I would not expect parsley foliage on other peas with normal foliage and I don't know what selective breeding went into the batch I purchased originally. Again, I really need to study the genetics of the four leaf types and how they are interrelated. I have observed that so far I have no other leaf forms from that batch.

            For me on the Houzz forum the yield question of single vs double pod per node was more interesting, which was answered in a roundabout way by saying I should not forget about side shoots and count the overall number of pods per plant. A recent seed swap with guaranteed double podded Sugar Magnolias harvested some that were and many more that were not. Sugar Magnolia is capable of double podding, but mostly does not do so it appears.

            The question of 'loss of purple gene' was also raised on Houzz, as there are green or partially green pods. This is another seed saving consideration. I only save from dark purple pods. But Sugar Magnolia has this in common with all purple mangetout and snap peas I know of, as discussed many times elsewhere on this forum. We will see how Beauregard fares in this context (from Brown Envelope Seeds), which is said to have a very stable purple.
            Last edited by Galina; 06-05-2020, 07:12.


            • Jang
              Jang commented
              Editing a comment
              “We will see how Beauregard fares in this context (from Brown Envelope Seeds), which is said to have a very stable purple”

              Unfortunately Brown Envelope Seeds has been out of stock ever since I started looking several months ago, and I’m not aware of any US seed company which will post to UK.

          • #7
            As I said above I would not save from them, unless you particularly like that trait and don't mind the extra work.

            I think I was simply fascinated, as I hadn't come across it before. Wonderment at the novel tendrils as you put it! Benefitting from the discussion, I can see the practical problem of having a line which is predominantly parsley leaf. Variety is seductive though.

            Chances are they had the same source of seeds. I will ask and mention that another UK gardener had the same experience, without naming names of course.

            Yes it would be interesting to know. I don't at all mind my name being mentioned.

            A steep learning curve for me here. The question of double or single podded is also interesting. And I haven't really understood the relationship between hypertendril and determinate/indeterminate. Are some hypertendril peas determinate? I also read a post singing the praises of semi leafless varieties on the grounds that the peas come all at once over a 10 day period. The writer saw this as an advantage (and it would obviously have a commercial advantage) but I certainly wouldn't regard it as such. And I assume this isn't true of SM?

            I've also read that the hypertendril form is more water efficient because of the reduced leaf area and therefore more drought resistant, and also that it's better ventilated and therefore more mildew resistant. Would you agree with these possibilities?


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Difficult to answer some of these questions, because I do not know the background from which angle they are asked. There is a world of difference between a short agricultural pea and Sugar Magnolia in a home garden. No they certainly do not ripen all at the same time.

              Water efficiency is something I have never noticed or measured and better ventilation is not something I noticed either. Usually I pack things far too tight as space is always in short supply, therefore any advantage of the minority of my peas that have hypertendrils would be lost in the crowd, so to speak. For a farmer with a field of them these are clearly measurable features with much more significance. Chances are, however, that there is not a single farmer who grows Sugar Magnolia.

              I have put the fact that somebody else had the same experience to the writer on fb and also asked who his seed supplier was. And given him the quote from Peace Seeds, which mentions all 4 leaf types. Will see what comes back.
              Last edited by Galina; 06-05-2020, 17:09.

            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              I got the nationality of the poster on fb wrong. He is from USA and bought his Sugar Magnolia seeds from Baker Creek.

            • Jang
              Jang commented
              Editing a comment
              Interesting that Baker Creek (in 2017) and Plants of Distinction seem to have a similar strain. And sourced from where I wonder? At least BC credits Alan Kapuler, which Plants of Distinction completely fails to do.

              The fb poster doesn’t actually name his variety but simply calls it purple tendril pea. I assume that SM is the only possibility.

          • #8
            One of my SM plants is parsley as well. It’s weird but interesting - definitely different to the acacia variety I’m also growing.


            • Jang
              Jang commented
              Editing a comment
              Could you explain the difference between parsley leaf and acacia leaf please! Neither is hypertendril?

            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              B is acacia, no tendrils just leaves

            • Silverleaf
              Silverleaf commented
              Editing a comment
              Great link Galina, I took some pics of my own peas today as i have all 4 types growing, but no need to upload them now!

              As far as I can work out, the acacia type has the tendrils changed into leaves, so you'll essentially get 3 or 5 more leaves rather than the usual little bunch of 3/5 tendrils.
              Hypertendril types seem to change every leaf into a whole bunch of tendrils (but not the stipules). So you have a ton of tendrils and no true leaves.
              Parsley leaf seems to be a combination of the hypertendril and acacia. The true leaves would become bunches of tendrils, but each of those individual tendrils is turned into a leaf instead and you get loads of tiny leaves.

          • #9
            Thank you both for the clarification. All is clear now. I wasn't aware of the existence of this fourth type.