Elegance Silver is a Regal Pelargonium, a very beautiful flower that is used as a flowering houseplant, and belongs to the genus Pelargonium, the same genus as geraniums. It has a glistening white flower with two burgundy feathers on the top two petals. In terms of flower shape and size, Elegance Silver resembles geraniums. The major differences are the palette of flower colors, symmetry of petals and the highly serrated leaves of the regal.
"It's unique because of its floral longevity and physiological attributes," said Dr. Richard Craig, professor emeritus, Department of Horticulture at Penn State. This super flower is a result of almost 30 years of plant breeding.
Through hybridization and genetic selection, Craig was able to achieve this unique flower. Hybrids are produced when pollen from one flower is taken and used to pollinate another with different genetic qualities. This leads to the dominant traits of the two parents being passed on to a new plant. Researchers used forceps to extract the pollen from one parent by hand and used it to fertilize another parent.
"It's like a roll of the dice," Craig said. "You can only hope for the best when breeding regals. Sometimes you'll get lucky and breed the perfect plant, and sometimes the plant you breed will be useless."
This time the dice rolled in Craig's favor. However, he would not have known about the plant's special longevity had he not cut some of Elegance Silver's flowers and placed them in a vase. He wanted to share the flower he bred with his grandchildren, who were visiting him from Chicago. Craig was surprised to see that the flowers were still in an acceptable condition after 14 days of being in the vase.