Date of this Version
HORTSCIENCE 28(12) :1194-1195.1993
‘Prairie Splendor’ is a Penstemon being released by the Univ. of Nebraska for its large, attractive flowers. This seed-propagated selection produces uniform plants except that flower colors differ between plants. ‘Prairie Splendor’ has been registered with the American Penstemon Society and assigned registration number 9301.
‘Prairie Splendor’ Penstemon originated from four generations of mass selection from the segregating population ‘Henry Hybrids’, which was named by Viehmeyer around 1960 (Viehmeyer, 1969) (Fig. 1). ‘Henry Hybrids’ originated from a cross of Penstemon cobaea Nutt. × Penstemon triflorus A. Heller made by Mrs. Norman Henry of Gladwyne, Pa., around 1940. Penstemon cobaea Nutt., a native plant found growing from southeastern Nebraska to Texas, has either white to pale-violet flowers (P. cobaea var. cobaea) or lavender flowers (P. cobaea var. purpureus) (Kelaidis, 1991; Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, 1976). Penstemon triflorus, native to the western half of the Edwards Plateau and the Trans-Pecos of Texas, has rose-purple flowers, which are smaller than P. cobaea (Kelaidis, 1991; Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, 1976).
In 1982, seed from the ‘Henry Hybrids’ (provided by George Yingling, Dayton, Ohio) was germinated, and the resulting seedlings were planted in field plots at the Univ. of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte. Seeds, from individual plants with the largest flowers, moderate height, a range of flower colors (white to dark lavender), and least amount of foliar leafspot diseases (cercospora and alternaria leafspots), were collected and bulked for four generations using mass selection.