Mahieu - 2003 - Challenger x (Mont Blanc x Blood Stream) - Diploid - Dormant - 50" scape - 7" flower - Midseason-Late - Bud count: 36-40 - Branching: 5 way - Crimson violet self with bluish glaze above lemon chartreuse throat
Pack Hunter is my favorite of all the Mahieu cultivars I have grown. It is an excellent plant and has excellent genetics due to its great ancestry. It is also a gorgeous plant and flower, with gorgeous branches. In addition, it is very fertile both ways and an excellent breeder. It is the best Challenger offspring I have grown, including seedlings I have bred and raised from Challenger to date (though I have a couple of new crops of Challenger seedlings coming on that haven’t bloomed yet, so you never know.)
The flower is a wonderful reddish purple, crimson violet being an excellent description and it does show the bluish glaze that Brian Mahieu mentioned in the registry description. I have bred excellent true purple seedlings from it, as well as a host of other clear colors. The unusual form flowers are very attractive, often cascading and curling in lovely ringlets. It is a beautiful addition to the mid-late season and is a wonderful plant for the garden and for breeding.
The plant is senescent (dormant) going fully underground in my garden during the winter. The foliage is attractive. The plant forms a large clump when established and it increases quickly, making a big clump fast and quickly recovering from division. The scapes are tall and impressive, branches on branches and lots of buds. The scapes hold up well, in spite of the many large flowers. If it isn’t deadheaded, the scapes can lean, or when loaded down with pods they may need to be staked.
Pack Hunter has also been very rust resistant here in my garden, and it produces a good number of resistant seedlings here in my garden, as is also the case for its pod parent, Challenger. I have no other reports on Pack Hunter’s rust resistance from other gardens, but I do have multiple reports on its pod parent, Challenger, as being resistant in multiple gardens, even in the south. I don’t know how far south it will flourish, but it likely will flourish quite far into the north.