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Elisabeth peas

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  • Elisabeth peas

    Well these are not a trial as such, heirloom probably, project definitely ...................
    so what are they?

    Well I have been growing peas Weggiser for years. a 5ft plus tall mangetout variety from Switzerland. Very popular there, shortish, sweet flat pods and lots of them. Lasting into summer heat quite well. They grow well at altitude in the Alps but do equally well in Britain. My mother bought the original packet of seeds from Samen Mauser, a famous seed house in Zurich, Switzerland. She hails from Zurich and eating these peas, or 'Kefen' as mangetout peas are called in Switzerland, are some of her most favourite childhood memories. I save seeds year after year and the plants do well both in my parents' garden in Germany and here in central England.

    So far so good. Imagine my utter surprise when this happened.
    Last edited by Galina; 04-07-2014, 16:29.

  • #2

    What had happened there? Amid a batch of Weggiser one plant had pink and white flowers, not the usual purple bicolour. A mutation? I asked Mike Ambrose of the John Innes Centre and Pisum Collection
    and he suggested that seed packet contamination was far more likely than mutation. Well I certainly had not noticed this in previous years when I had been growing Weggiser. All other characteristics are pretty similar to Weggiser. Whatever it ultimately may be - mutation or seed packet contamination - it makes no odds: this is a pretty spectacular coloured pea to have. The flowers are so pretty.

    I marked the pods from the pink flowers and saved seeds. The following year I grew a small batch of them. All were pink flowered! I was so pleased and excited. More generations and yes, pink flowers every time, followed by lovely mangetout peas. I named them 'Elisabeth pea' after my mother.

    Several years later I gave Jayb a few seeds. Will hand the virtual pen over to her to tell you what happened next ......... watch this space
    Last edited by Galina; 04-07-2014, 16:42.


    • #3
      Sorry, its not not Jayb writing - just to carry on what happened next. In Jayb's garden in Wales. I had uniformly pink and white flowers for years and in Wales other flower colours appeared. One was odd, as it was purple flowered and she called it 'off type' or 'Odd Elisabeth; or 'Rogue' Elisabeth. The pods were fibrous, very unlike Elisabeth. A handful of seeds went back and I grew them here. Still purple flowered, but some were mangetout and others the shelling type. The mangetout pods were large and tasty, really nice in fact. Some that I had marked as mangetout seemed to be semi-mangetout with fibre in the mature pods. Others were definitely mangetout. There is some thought that this could have been a chance cross? Neither Jayb nor myself made a cross, what had happened to Rogue Elisabeth is a mystery..

      More on Elisabeth Rogue is here:
      Last edited by Admin; 02-07-2015, 08:22. Reason: Fixed link


      • #4
        But there were further happenings with Elisabeth pea in Wales: A white with light purple veining and an almost pure white flower appeared. How strange! Photos attached.


        • #5
          I asked for, and received, some seeds back from the 'White Elisabeth', which I grew this year. No white flowers at all, apart from blanching right at the end of the season. They all were back to normal, bar one plant. This produced this very pretty shade, see photo. For want of a better name I called it the 'Redder Elisabeth'
          Last edited by Galina; 27-08-2014, 12:56.


          • #6
            Redder Elisabeth pea. Interesting flower colour. Have saved these separately. How lovely it would be if this colour stayed for more than one generation It is hard to believe that this came from a near white flowering Elisabeth parent. Seeds and pods are exactly like what is normal for Elisabeth.


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Redder Elisabeth are planted separately this year (2015), just a few plants. Really looking forward to what flower colour they will show.

              Also crossed one flower of the redder Elisabeth with an ordinary pink/white Elisabeth and got one pod with one seed (this was a bit of an afterthought right at the end of the season). This single plant is now also out in the garden. Again, what colour will its flowers be? So much to look forward to.
              Last edited by Galina; 04-05-2015, 06:52.

          • #7
            So far this year all Elisabeth peas have displayed the standard pink and white flower colour in Jayb's and Silverleaf's garden. I have shared seeds with others and hope to get some more reports. Meanwhile I have crossed a 'Redder' and a standard Elisabeth. It will be interesting to see whether the F1 of that cross is pink flowered or purple flowered.


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              These flower colour changes are temporary and not in evidence here in 2015. We may cautiously conclude perhaps that Elisabeth has a greater tendency to such temporary colour expressions. (comment July 2015). Further observation may confirm this or not.

          • #8
            Here's some of pictures I took of Elisabeth's flowers in 2012, in August and September.


            • #9
              And some more


              • #10
                I was wondering if the colouration was due to lateness of season, but so far I've not seen anything similar. I'll try and get some up to date pictures next week. Picture below is from a few weeks ago


                • #11
                  Elisabeth looked normal for me in Chesterfield in 2014, with pink flowers very similar to Salmon Flowered in colour except a little less yellow in hue. They faded slightly towards the end of their season but were still recognisably pink.


                  • #12
                    Elisabeth peas this year

                    071 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                    085 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                    007-001 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                    018-002 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                    017-001 by jayb 35, on Flickr


                    • #13
                      Elisabeth peas

                      160 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                      159-001 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                      161 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                      162 by jayb 35, on Flickr

                      All grown from saved seed

                      004 by jayb 35, on Flickr


                      • #14
                        It is not possible to grow every sub-strain this year - I have a huge pea garden as it is - but we have: Rogue Elisabeth mangetout, Redder Elisabeth and the single F1 of the cross between Redder and ordinary Elisabeth. Expectations are that Rogue Elisabeth will stay a purple flowered mangetout. It would be nice if Redder Elisabeth was to stay 'redder' on the flower standards. And the cross between Redder Elisabeth and normal Elisabeth might show up whether different colour genes are in operation. I have never made a cross with Elisabeth before this cross. What is going on with Elisabeth's flower colours is a mystery. Incidentally, the Elisabeth in my parent's garden flowered pink and white as they did in Silverleaf's garden. Thank you for the photos Jayb and Silverleaf..


                        • #15
                          You may remember I said I was going to do a test cross to see if Elisabeth has the b gene. I was pretty sure it did, but I fancied an experiment to make sure!

                          So last year I crossed Elisabeth with my experimental pea Tachyon (which I know is definitely b), and I'm growing out the F1 now. If there's pink flowers in the F1, then Elisabeth also has b. if the F1 is purple, then Elisabeth is pink because of a different gene.

                          No flowers yet (sowed late), but the initial indication is that Elisabeth does have b, because Elisabeth x Tachyon F1 is showing faded axil colour just like its mother.