TWO NEW CULTIVARS OFPELARGONIUM – ‘MORAS SHUBERT’ AND ‘ERNE SHUBERT’
By Wayne L. Handlos, Ph.D.
Moras Shubert ‘Moras Shubert’ flower & leaf and Erne Shubert ‘Erne Shubert’ flower & leafOn the occasion of Prof. Moras Shubert’s 100th birthday, May 21, 2012, a new cultivar
ofPelargonium, named ‘Moras Shubert’ is being described in his honor.
This cultivar was a chance seedling which appeared in my garden in California several
years ago. In botanical characteristics, it is clearly a member of § Reniformia,
species of which can easily be intercrossed (Ed Olson-Moore,Pelargonium Cross
List, The Pelargonium Breeder, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2003). This cultivar embodies characteristics
ofP. ionidiflorum, P. odoratissimum and P. x fragrans.
P. ionidiflorumflower, leaf P. x fragrans flower, leaf
In the Mediterranean climate area of the Central Coast of California, this plant
grows and flowers throughout the year. Flowering is more prolific in the warmer
months of summer. There is no real dormant period but flowering and vegetative
growth are reduced in the colder winter months. While capable of withstanding the
occasional light frost, the plant is not likely to be winter hardy in colder areas.
Like many otherPelargoniums, a well drained soil or growing medium is recommended
and a water-logged soil should be avoided. Propagation by rooting vegetative
cuttings in a sterile medium works well.
I have chosen to name this plant after Moras Shubert because of the vibrant color of
the flowers, the compact nature of the plant, the inflorescences reaching out beyond
the plant and the spicy fragrance of the leaves.
‘MORAS SHUBERT’– Description of a new cultivar of Pelargonium
green, roughly triangular in outline, 3-7 lobed and minutely hairy; in larger
leaves the lobes are obscurely lobed too. The leaf base is cordate. The leaf margins
are irregularly toothed. Petioles are 1 ˝ to 10 cm long; minutely hairy, with
small, triangular stipules. The leaves have a spicy fragrance, a scent which is
referred to as “nutmeg” by geranium growers.
< sequential, stalked umbels; the ultimate inflorescences are 3-5 flowered.
The two upper petals are upright and close together, about 11 mm long
and 3 mm wide and obovate. There is a dark violet red blotch on each
petal with smaller speckles below it; the 3 lower petals are bright pink,
unlined, 10 mm long and 3 mm wide, and narrowly obovate in outline.
and 5 lobed style are glabrous. There are 5 longer and 2 shorter stamens.
As a further tribute to Moras Shubert, I would like to name another cultivar in
honor of Erne Hutton Shubert, his wife of 72 years, who passed away in April,
This cultivar is also a chance seedling, selected from among about 15 seedlings
derived from an older cultivar named ‘Orange Fizz’ which has a citrusy fragrance.
This cultivar belongs in the § Pelargonium, a section which includes
many species with scented leaves.
‘Mabel Grey’ flowers, leaf ‘Orange Fizz’ flower, leaf
While I am not sure of the parentage of this new cultivar, it seems to be intermediate
between ‘Orange Fizz’ and ‘Mabel Grey’. The leaves are larger than those
of ‘Orange Fizz’ but smaller than those of ‘Mabel Grey’. The color of the flowers
is more vibrant and a darker lavender/violet color than either of the putative
parents. (Under greenhouse conditions the petals are several shades lighter in
When grown in soil in the garden, the plant can easily grow more than a meter
tall. It produces offshoots from the root system. The plant can be propagated
from softwood cuttings or offshoots from the roots. Flowering is seasonal and is
triggered by cool night temperatures (like most Regal geraniums).
I have chosen this plant to be named after Erne Shubert because of its beautiful,
vibrant flowers, the upright and neat arrangement of leaves, as well as the pleasant
fragrance of its leaves. To my nose, ‘Mabel Grey’ has a sharp lemon or citrus
odor, while the leaves of ‘Erne Shubert Shubert’ have a more appealing floral-citrusy
‘ERNE SHUBERT’– Description of a new cultivar of Pelargonium
tall. The leaves are roughly triangular in outline, 3-7 lobed, sharply toothed with
a truncate base. The leaves are roughly hairy below but less so above; veins are
impressed above. The petiole is about 1.1 cm long, slightly hairy; stipules are
triangular, green and apiculate.
The flowers are bright magenta and hot pink in 3-5-flowered clusters subtended
by several, conspicuous, green bracts. The peduncles are 2.5 cm long, hairy;
pedicels are 1.1 cm long and hairy. The 2 upper petals are slightly recurved, larger
and darker in color than the 3 lower petals and broadly obovate in outline.
Each upper petal has a dark purple blotch (almost black) and is 1.8 cm wide and
2.2 cm long. There are 3-5 dark colored, feathered lines below each blotch. The
lower petals are hot pink, smaller and narrower, 1.7 cm long and 8 mm wide.
The hypanthium is about 6 mm long; the ovary and style are hairy.
Diane Dwyer Handlos was a student in Moras Shubert’s botany classes at the
University of Denver in the late 1950’s. She maintained contact with him and
his wife Erne from that time to the present. I was introduced to them on a trip to
Denver in the1980’s.
in 1977. Erne worked at the Colorado State Library from 1951 until her
retirement in 1972. To quote from an article in the Washington Park Profile:
“Together the Shuberts served a variety of civic, professional and charitable organizations.
They led world travel tours, organized mountain hikes, and were
instrumental in creating a retirement residence for DU staff and students.” This
quotation only hints at the energy they expended on their many projects, interests
and activities. Moras is deeply involved with the Denver Botanic Gardens and
was on the original Board of Trustees where he remains as a permanent member.
It was a joy to be with them as they both had very active and inquiring minds, to
say nothing of memories for incredible detail. In addition, they each had a wonderful
sense of humor. Conversation never lagged with them. Questions flew in
all directions. There were always stacks of books around the chairs in their living
room and they were up-to-date on all current events. They both served (and
continue to serve) as sources of inspiration to us (and many others). It is truly a
gift to know Moras and Erne.
It has been an honor to know the Shuberts and I hope they will find it an honor
to have two different but related plants named for them. I think it is appropriate
that these plants are introduced at the Denver Botanic Gardens and hope that
the staff will maintain these plants for the public in the memory of two remarkable
people. On our last visit to Denver, The Denver Botanic Garden personnel were
very helpful in assisting us and welcomed future contacts. We appreciate their
involvement in this tribute to the Shuberts.
At a later date the plants will be available commercially from two nurseries