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  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: MA MIE and MADAME CHEREAU
  • From: Kent Appleberry appleb@cut.net
  • Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 16:09:18 -0600

Just in case I've given the wrong impression, I do think it's important to be able to get IDs right for the purposes you mention here (preserving the cultivar), and also for breeding, perhaps.  The trouble with IDs of historics is only a matter of curiosity to me for now because I'm just getting started in iris, about to order my first Madame Chereau, Ma Mie, Prairie Sunset, Swerti, and so on.  Once I've got them going, the IDs may become pretty important, depending on where I go with them.

I'm still curious about whether anyone has any views about the differences between a pair like MA MIE and MADAME CHEREAU that might matter for more ordinary gardening reasons, e.g. better form, color, growth habit, and such.  Some of you grow both.  Any differences?  (There are broader philosophical issues that go with such a question as well--about when improvements are improvements and so on.)


Jean Richter wrote:
[insert standard disclaimer on the perils of identifying
iris from photographs]

One of the more notable features of Swerti is its recurved
falls - though even on the worldiris site this isn't present
on all of the Swerti pictures. Based on that, and the general
shape of the flower, it's possible that the iris in the Morris
garden is not Swerti but rather one of the other many old blue/purple

This is an extremely common occurrence - there are an awful lot of
mis-identified historics happily flourishing under assumed names
in gardens around the country (and the world, no doubt).
Take a look at the astonishing variation in appearance of
iris called Prairie Sunset in *catalogs*:

Whether this is a big deal or not depends on your point of view,
I guess. As a HIPS member, it's important to me that old cultivars
are preserved, and that means preserving the *correct* cultivar
whenever possible. One of the more valuable tools in this endeavor
is finding old catalog descriptions - the old checklists are pretty
much worthless for identification as they contain so little useful
descriptive information. Many old catalogs, however, have quite detailed
descriptions. Another source is old publications such as the Cornell
bulletin 112, which no lover of historic iris should be without.
A number of these publications are sold as reprints through HIPS.

I'm a little bit unusual among HIPS members in that I also enjoy
"unknowns" - the beauty of a iris isn't diminished to me because
I don't have a cultivar name to put to it. It probably had one
at some point, and perhaps one day I'll be able to put a name to
it again, though it can be a lot of work to do so.

My advice to those out there to whom definitive identification
is not that important - enjoy your iris, but please don't
feel you have to assign a name to them! This is how misidentifications
get propagated - someone thinks "oh, this kinda looks like Swerti,
so I'll call it Swerti" and the next time they divide it and pass
it along to their neighbor it has "Swerti" written on the fan.
If you don't know, just call it "pretty petite purple plicata"
or something :-)


Jan Lauritzen wrote:

Hi, Jean,
I just went to theLowe site and contrasted and compared.  Then I pulled 
up the picture I took at the St. Louis Convention in the Morris garden.  
This clump was labeled Swertii.  As I looked closely at the blue plic 
marks all the way around the standards and the shape of the flower, I 
think it is much closer to Pocahontas.  What do you think?
Jan in Chatsworth 

*/Jean Richter <richter@eecs.berkeley.edu>/* wrote:

    I would regard Mike Lowe's site (worldiris.com) as
    the closest thing to definitive on pictures of historic iris.

    In addition to excellent pictures of Mme. Chereau and Ma Mie
    (and Pocahontas), there is a great comparison page for various
    blue/purple historic plicatas:

    There are also comparison pages for other colors: yellows, variegatas,
    amoenas, and one just for Prairie Sunset :-)

    Jean Richter
    San Francisco bay area, zone 9
    currently hip-deep in HIPS rhizomes :-)

    Kent Appleberry wrote:

     > I've been looking at photos of iris identified by the names in the
     > subject line.  Very hard to see a consistent difference, to the
     > that I wonde! r if these are commonly misidentified, so that the
     > I'm seeing are confused between them (and possibly others).  How
     > is such a confusion?  Anyone have a reason to prefer one of these
    to the
     > other?  In other words, how much does it matter?
     > For the curious, here are photos identified as each:
     > Madame Chereau (for which I've seen heights listed of 23", 30"
    and 36")

     > Chereau.jpg
     >    http://www.redrocknursery.com/images/madamechereau.jpg
     >    http://www.rainbowfarms.net/1844.html
     > Ma Mie
     >    http://www.worldiris.com/public_html/Quick_Fixes/Q_Ma_Mie.html
     >    http://albuquerqueirises.homestead.com/files/Ma_Mie.JPG
     >    http://www.iriscitygardens.com/images/tallbearded/mamie.jpg
     >    http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/sugarbean1/MaMie-3g.jpg
     >    http://www.iris-bulbeuses.org/jpg/ma_mie.jpg
     >    http://www.plantes-et-jardins.com/photos/zoom/mamie-cayeux.jpg
     >    http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/77302/
     > Kent


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