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Re: Iris ignominy

  • Subject: [iris-photos] Re: Iris ignominy
  • From: "donald" <donald@eastland.net>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 02:22:14 -0000


>  I am curious to hear what everyone thinks, 

I dislike entering what may be controversial areas, but I'm going to 
here, I guess.  Won't be the first time I've been out of step with 
the world.

First, I think it's an extremely esoteric subject to begin with.  It 
may well be of vital interest in the arcane world of plant 
scientists, but I really doubt that too.  As primarily a gardener, I 
didn't know there was a 'standard' International horticultural 
convention for writing a cultivars' name.  Then I wondered why I 
would know it?  Where would an ordinary lay gardener get exposed to 
it?  I did know that Latin derived species names are generally 
written in italics.  Or do I?  It's not an option with my email 
program.  Are you meaning this to apply to emails and photos posted 
on this forum?  I would disagree that writing in the 'Standard Form' 
is as easy to read quickly as when written in ALL CAPS.  I have 
searched in the archives and have often wished names were 
capitalized so I could quickly find them in a long post (such as 
this) or in messages that were not cut on replies.  It does not 
affect iris-photos on photos, but it does in written messages in the 

I frankly am not in the least concerned with someone perceiving me 
as provincial.  I wonder if the lay gardener in France, Jordan, or 
Ukraine is any more likely to know the correct International 
horticultural convention than most backyard gardeners found in the 
continental U.S.  Why would they?

If you were not referring to these rather loose and informal iris 
groups, but rather to AIS and official publications, then it seems a 
lot to ask that what is already done be redone.  How many R&I's are 
there now?  It would be absurd to have them reset for future 
printings just to conform.  Did they always do them in caps?  Or are 
you suggesting only that future R&I's conform?  Are the hosta, 
daylily and iris societies really 'outlaw' societies?  That seems a 
pretty extreme term to describe groups for whom the majority of 
members are simply growing a plant they enjoy. The members I've met 
hardly seem like a renegade bunch.  I seriously doubt that many 
officials made a deliberate decision to flout the international 
code.  Why would they do that?  It probably just got done.  It may 
have followed some other rule of writing and happened with no malice 

>First of all a cultivar shouldn't be in commerce if it is 
unregistered. Or to put it more correctly any cultivar in commerce 
should be registered.

In a perfect world, yes.  But offhand I can think of several that 
are or have recently been in commerce that are not registered. Some 
are old and their name was usurped by a later cultivar of a 
different type or decade.  Some are newer.  What do we do?  Change a 
name that's been in use?  That can be confusing as well.  Add 
something to distinguish them and register them?  What about 
hybridizers who for one reason or another don't choose to go through 
the registration process but distribute their cultivars?  How do you 
force them? I know you are on record as registering lots of plants, 
including species clones.  I tend to agree with you up to a point.  
But I think the reality is that there are going to be plants 
circulating under names without having been registered or being 
circulated under the wrong name(probably more often and sometimes I 
expect quite widely distributed that way).  

But I learned something from your post.  Something I didn't know.  I 
had just assumed it was a personal preference on how a name was 
handled - excepting the use of italics on Latin derivative names.  
But without an italic option, I can't write those correctly at all 
in an email.  For the time being, though, I'm probably going to 
continue to exercise my personal preference, provincial or not.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA


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