Sprenger was the creator of many Cannas, and the Italian Group is named in deference to his production of new cannas. The eruption buried his plants under volcanic ash, destroying hundreds of his best specimens. Some survived, and the establishment attempted to continue, but the following year when Sprenger was offered the role of supervisor of the Kaiser's garden at Achilleion, a garden with a palace on the island of Corfu (Kerkyra), which he accepted and moved much of his plant material to the palace gardens.
Canna 'Roi Humbert' is an Italian Group cultivar; it has bronze foliage, ovoid shaped, with a spreading habit; distinctive stems, are coloured purple; flowers are open, turning to reflexed, self-coloured tomato-red, staminodes are large, edges irregular, fully self-cleaning; seed is sterile, pollen is sterile; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured purple; the tillering capability is good. It was confirmed to be a triploid, see Khoshoo, T.N. & Guha, I, Origin and Evolution of Cultivated Cannas, Vikas, India. It has been sold under several synonyms, including C. 'King Humbert', C. '
But the story does not end there, as Canna 'Yellow King Humbert' also has a trick up its sleeve, when it mutates again and produces a new cultivar, similar to its original mutation parent, the first of these secondary mutations was named C. 'Red King Humbert'. Maybe they are all the same plant, but until a scientific analysis of these specimens is performed, we will not know. In the meantime, I intend to enjoy them all. Other names that spring to mind are C. 'Zulu Maiden', C. 'Red Cleopatra'', C. 'Patrick's Red'.
It is recognizably different from C. 'Roi Humbert', having retained the cupped shape flower of C. 'Yellow King Humbert' and the colour is a scarlet red, rather than the tomato-red of the former. It has repeated that trick on several occasions and we now have similar cultivars resulting from this further mutation.
Maybe they are all the same plant, but until a scientific analysis of these specimens is performed, we will not know. In the meantime, I intend to enjoy them all. Other names that spring to mind are C. 'Zulu Maiden', C. 'Red Cleopatra'', C. 'Patrick's Red'.
We will never know for certain, but the dates of these events are such that it is highly probable that our favourite Canna chimera is a direct result of the eruption of