William John Bates van de Weyer

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Who is William John Bates van de Weyer?

William John Bates van de Weyer was a major in the British Army who won more lasting fame in horticulture as the first to hybridize a South American species of Buddleja with an Asiatic species while on leave during World War I.

Working in the nursery of his home, Smedmore House, Corfe Castle, he crossed B. globosa with B. davidii, naming the new hybrid Buddleja weyeriana. The initial F1 progeny were aesthetically poor, but Weyer persevered, crossing them to produce more strongly coloured F2 plants from which he made two selections he named 'Moonlight' and 'Golden Glow', which remain in commerce to this day. Over half a century later, 'Sungold' was raised from a sport of 'Golden Glow' in the Netherlands, and was used in hybridization experiments in the USA, leading to the release of small, sterile Buddlejas such as 'Blue Chip'.

Weyer also hybridized B. globosa with B. madagascariensis circa 1920 and, several years later, B. globosa with B. brasiliensis, though neither appears to have had much horticultural merit and no cultivars are known.

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Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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