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Conserving Iris species and cultivars

  • Subject: [iris-photos] Conserving Iris species and cultivars
  • From: Robt R Pries <rpries@sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 12:03:14 -0700 (PDT)

The topic arose on one of the Iris groups about growing reference collections. Since this is a useful idea pertinent to all types of Iris I would like to plant a seed of this concept in each of the Iris sections and cooperating societies.

In England and in fact in several other countries there has been a movement to create National collections. These collections of living plants are established for many reasons: 1. to insure that plants will be perpetuated and not lost to cultivation.

2. to create a living collection of a small group of plants that can provide plants for comparison and study.

3. National collections can act as repositories of cultivars that have temporarily fallen out of the lists of normal commercial sources. They may also be a source of plants that are no longer available to importation due to war, or other political impediments.

What makes the collections valuable is that the plants they contain are registered yearly with a secretary overseeing the collections. If someone is researching a particular plant the secretary can refer to the garden or gardens that hold this plant in their collections. Often holders of collections become so knowledgeable of the small category of plants they maintain they may publish papers books etc. providing information for other gardeners and scientists.

No one disagrees that plants protected in there native habitat have the best chance of being preserved for posterity. But collections can also serve as another safeguard to endangered species when there native habitat is being destroyed.

I encourage everyone to be aware of the National Council of Conservation of Plants and gardens, a simple Google search will bring you much information. Then ask yourself why is it that the USA is one of the few civilized countries that does not have a parallel organization? And what is the Iris society doing to create comparable structures within their group?

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