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Re: Re: HYB:Umbrata pattern

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: HYB:Umbrata pattern
  • From: "Neil A Mogensen" neilm@charter.net
  • Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 11:04:37 -0500

No, Will, that isn't HELEN COLLINGWOOD.  Even though classed as an amoena, HC has a character that really makes it borderline as an amoena.  There's enough coloration in it that the standards do not come off sparkling white as in Phantomfyre's Wabash-wannabe.
I agree, this isn't WABASH, but are you sure this isn't BRIGHT HOUR?  I take it that you (Phantomfyre) have made some serious effort to compare it with BH.
Different growing conditions, fertility, newness of the set and lack of disease, toxins and competing roots can make quite a difference in how an iris looks.
Despite the great difficulties in breeding with classic (Wabash-type) amoenas that made Geddes Douglas and others so frustrated, and led to the embryo culture work of L. F. Randolph (Douglas' BRIGHT HOUR being one of the results), other people DID breed amoenas, and a number of really good ones appeared now and then.
I recall seeing a tall, large amoena seedling that I thought was really first rate in the seedlings of Melvina Suiter, out near where Chadwick's SAND HOLLOW gardens are now north of Caldwell, ID.  I would have been thrilled if it had bloomed in my seedlings!  Mel, however, said it wasn't distinctive enough and passed it up.
It would not surprise me if this same scenario was echoed in many other iris breeder's gardens.  Your amoena may not even be a named iris--or it may be one of the obscure Wabash-types that just never caught on.
A comparison using careful point by point examination of the pattern of haft marks can be helpful in saying a certain specimen is or is not a match.  The over-all flower may not look quite the same--due to differences in culture--but haft marking patterns are as good as fingerprints in identifying an iris.  If they are exactly the same, you've got a match.
On the bleed-through of color on these dark, rich, saturated amoenas, yes, they do have what we've been talking about as the "Umbrata spot."  The intense color shows through somewhat, as is apparent in your photo, but that isn't really surprising, as the petal really only has a three-cell-layer structure--a middle, translucent structural support, and a surface skin (epidermis) that wraps around the edges and covers both sides of the petal. 
Because of the translucency of the layers, once the flower is open the color can be seen *through* the petal to the other side.  While still in bud, the light you see is more reflected light from the outside/underside of the petal, and will look much whiter than when open.  You can tell there is color on the other side, but it is more obvious that the pigment is not located on the unopened bud's outside surface.
The Progenitor (et al.) derived dominant amoena pattern is quite the other.  *Both* sides of the fall petal are colored.  Oddly enough, a dominant amoena can *also* have the Umbrata spot--as is true in many modern irises, both amoenas (Whole Cloth type) and non-amoenas.  Judging from the photos of some of the collected wild tetraploids, they have the same thing--a violet-blue or blue-violet ground color, but also have the fall overlay pattern with a border around it like most "Umbrata spot" types among modern irises.
Neil Mogensen  z 7 western NC mountains 

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