David, I have never seen anything so heavily quilled. Reminds me of something in the Magnolidaea. Illicium, perhaps?
If that is a trait that is stable and can be inherited, I see some real aesthetic merit in developing that line, personally.
Never seen simple leaves in a modern cross either... If I am correct in recalling that the species Hulthemia has simple leaves, that might be an interesting thing to play with in that line, just for the sake of creating a modern Hulthemia with more hulthemia-like traits.
[size=small][color=#669966]Zone 8 / Sunset Zn 30 (Austin, TX -- formerly New Orleans, LA)[/color][/size]