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Wabash


From: Mike Lowe <mlowe@worldiris.com>

Hi Jan

Iris societies, particularity the older, presumably wiser members of 
such, have a sly way of asking for a seminar, lecture, article, 
training, slide show or job-fulfillment at least a year in advance. 
(some things such as registrar for a national convention are filled 
several years in advance)

It is distressingly easy to say "Sure, ya betcha, I can do that, no 
sweat!" And then, when the time to deliver rolls around, you find 
half a dozen tasks piled one on top of another. Sixteen hour days, a 
lot of heavy lifting and you swear, "I'll never be so stupid as to 
agree to ______ (fill in the blank) again!" But you find yourself 
doing it over and over.

Anyway, I have looked at all and just feel impelled to say a few 
(ha!) words concerning your Wabash.

First, it is easy to see why Jim suspected Mini Wabash. Here is the 
registration data of M. W.:

MINI WABASH (Riley Probst, R. 1993). Sdlg. 89PQX37OP2. MTB, 22" (56 
cm), ML. S. white; F. dark violet-blue (RHS 89A) overlaid on white 
ground creating effect of purple veins radiating from the yellow 
beards and slight rim of lighter purple. Pretty Quirky X Ornate 
Pageant. Miller's Manor 1996.

 From the fact that your photo was taken from a high angle it would 
appear that your Wabash is very flaring. (rest easy, it is not M. W.) 
Wabash has a 'lilt' to the falls, certainly for its day (1936) you 
could say that it flared. But nothing like M. W. Still, the decided 
flare that seems to show in your photo is a bit disquieting.

Also lending credence to a suspicion of M. W. or some such other 
cultivar is a lack of discernable scale and/or an 'impression' of 
your Wabash photo, of representing a smallish bloom.

Wabash has probably been the most popular iris ever introduced. 
(Dykes Medalist, longest on the AIS Symposium than any other iris, 
number one on the HIPS Popularity poll, never out of catalogs, traded 
often, etc., etc.) As such, there is ample room to have 'impostors.'

The real Wabash has evanescent purple bases, dark during spring 
growth, fading to almost invisibility later in the year. The falls on 
Wabash have a more rectangular 'look' than do many of the lookalikes. 
The style crests are fairly heavily tinged violet on the real Wabash, 
although Bright Hour, Gaylord and others also have this to a more or 
sometimes lesser extent and (confusing the issue!) the style crest 
and standard's midrib coloration varies somewhat, year to year.

Immediately after posting this, I will upload a 640 by 480 JPEG of 
three 'Wabashs'; the 1948 and 1987 images almost certainly Wabash, 
the 1998 image most probably not. The 1948 Wabash and the 1998 
'Wabash' are from the same large commercial firm's catalog, just 
separated by a half century. And no, 'Wabash' has not dramatically 
'improved' its form in 50 years. And if this sort of thing can happen 
with a large, well established, extremely capable, iris firm, what 
chance the struggling amateurs?

The only surefire way to render an opinion where there are subtle 
differences from the expected norm is an 'in the ground,' more than 
one season, side by side comparison of the suspect cultivar and a 
'test cultivar' with an impeccable (as possible!) provenience.

Cheers,

Mike

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