The story of the origin of Campanula ‘Royal Wave’ is rather different from that of Gaillardia aristata ‘Amber Wheels’, which I discussed in my last post. ‘Royal Wave’ is a tetraploid mutation of ‘Samantha’ created in the laboratory. Wait… I’ll explain.
Campanula ‘Samantha’ turned up as a chance self-sown seedling at Collector’s Nursery, in Washington state and is thought to be a hybrid between C. x pseudoranieri and C. carpatica. ‘Samantha’ was propagated by tissue culture in the laboratory by TerraNova Nurseries and they created ‘Royal Wave’ by treating the very young plant material of ‘Samantha’ in tissue culture with colchicine. Derived from colchicum bulbs, colchicine has the ability sometimes to double the chromosome count of the plant material with which it is treated.
A number of plants were derived from the treatment, they were grown on and assessed and one was chosen; it was named ‘Royal Wave’.
Doubling the chromosome count to create a tetraploid usually produces a plant with more vigor, more robust leaf and flower tissue, and often with slightly larger leaves and flowers.
In this case the resulting plant develops into a rounded mound carrying as many as 230 upward facing flowers, each 2in across, and a lovely bluish purple with a pale centre. It sets no seed so just keeps on flowering. So science is good too.