Matilda Lewis

This is one of the few registered Saunders lactifloras although he obviously had many lactiflora seedlings under number which he used in various crosses with other species.  Its registration date has appeared as either 1921 or 1942, but it seems more likely the earlier date is correct as it correlates with the registration date of his best known lactiflora, ‘Silvia Saunders’.

I purchased this plant from two different nurseries and the two plants appear to be different. Don Hollingsworth confirms that this is the plant he grows under that name so I am finally confident that this is the correct version. Don describes it as  “distinctive in having sooty red-purple color on all the stems including up to the flower and the leaflet stems.  The flower petals are a similarly intense blackish red-purple hue.  It is not tight with petals and there will be stamens showing on all but those most heavy with petals”.

Stamens show on the flower below.

Cultivar: Matilda Lewis
Year: 1921 (according to Wister)
Seedling No: 365
Parentage: 0: lactiflora cultivar
Flower: Color: wine red (others describe as maroon)
Form: semi-double, “flower in flower”
Blooms: Week 5
Stigmas: none?
Disc: none?
Stamens: some show
Plant: Habit: upright, somewhat spreading on mature plants
Foliage color: medium dark green leaves, red stems
Foliage form: narrow leaves
Height: 39″ in 2021
Recommendation: Collectors’ plant
Availability: Rare

The photo below illustrates the unique red stems characteristic of this plant.