Betty, I do recall a time when howls were raised at
calling PINNACLE an "amoena" in yellow. The exact same remark as you cite
could well have been said about "amoena."
"An amoena by definition carries
anthocyanin." I.e., WABASH.
Then to make matters even worse, PROGENITOR and its
descendants came from the work of Paul Cook. I recall when the major BAIS
article appeared with the origin of WHOLE CLOTH laid out in family tree form,
Mary Tharp, one of my mentors, not only hit the roof--she just plain said "Not
so! Amoenas are recessive." She was furious and never budged a
bit before she died. I don't think she was the only one.
The issue is a semantic one. Do "plicata" and
"amoena" refer to pigments or do they describe patterns? Originially they
were limited by both. An amoena was a WABASH type, and a plicata was in
anthocyanin colors only.
Now we are faced with carotene distributions that
have some characteristics shared with anthocyanin-only plicatas. What do
we call them? Do we invent a new word? Or do we follow the
redefinition of "amoena" and shift the meaning from pigment to
You might enjoy taking a look at the registration
data for HEY JOE, a registration in 1967 by someone who's name you will
recognize. It is classed as a W2Y, yellow on white plicata. The
registration was done quite deliberately to test the waters over this same
issue--are we talking about pigments, or are we talking about pattern? Hey
Joe had its yellow laid on in discrete dots gradually merging to solid yellow in
the petal edges. Garden visitors loved it, and I do wish it were still
extant. Never introduced, it had limited distribution and has disappeared
into the mists of time.
I wasn't very happy at first at Jean Stevens
calling PINNACLE an amoena, nor were a lot of others, but the majority didn't
seem to mind, and the redefinition took hold. Now an amoena is anything
with white (more or less) standards and falls of ANY contrasting
Doing the same with "plicata" will disorient or
disturb the more verbally conservative of us, but I suspect the majority of
folks in the iris world will not blink an eye at the change.
Neil Mogensen z 7 western NC
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