Back in 2007 a unique new echinacea called ‘Green Envy’ was introduced. Found as a self-sown seedling in a garden in New York state, its green-tipped, reddish-purple petals around the rich, dark eye immediately made it popular, especially for cutting.
But there were problems propagating the plant in the laboratory in the required numbers and there were reports of off-types occurring so, although quite a number of nurseries stock it, the appearance of a more reliable, and more economical, alternative is very welcome. Step forward the seed-raised ‘Green Twister’.
Developed in Germany by perennial seed specialist Jelitto Perennial Seeds, ‘Green Twister’ is unrelated to ‘Green Envy’. Georg Uebelhart, General Manager at Jelitto, told me all about it.
“We first noticed these greenish forms back in 1997-1999 when we had a large seed crop covering the demand of ‘Magnus’ when it was at the peak of popularity. I was walking the fields during flowering time and I saw about a dozen greenish-flowering plants which I eliminated right away. I was afraid it was a virus, so the plants were burned.
“Some years later, when I first saw Echinacea ‘Green Envy’, I was very surprised and in fact green with envy and felt very stupid not to have looked into these green forms saved from the ‘Magnus’ fields back then.
“Later when green forms appeared again in our breeding programme we knew it was not caused by virus.”
“We now have three thousand plants of ‘Green Twister’ in the field and there is not a single off colour mutating back to ordinary pink!
“‘Green Twister’ is very robust,” he continued, “with very strong and thick stems.”
Echinacea ‘Green Twister’ is pure E. purpurea, not a hybrid, so comes with none of the difficulty in overwintering seen in so many modern hybrids.
Seed of Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Twister’ is available to both home gardeners and nurseries direct from Jelitto Perennial Seeds.
Please note: the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS