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Re: Re: Re: *germanica*

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: Re: *germanica*
  • From: Robt R Pries <rpries@sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 11:41:36 -0800 (PST)


Neil was very kind to suggest it, but I don?t believe my opinion should have any greater weight than most people when it comes to Iris germanica. Unfortunately there is yet to be the definitive study of this and related plants. Nigel Service has probably seen more germanicas in ?natural? settings than anyone. Yet he would tell you there is much he would like to see and know before making any firm pronouncements. Maybe it is just as well that we have some mysteries to ponder. Unfortunately it would be more satisfying if it were not on the plant chosen as the type for the genus. Some years back Fitz Randolph tried to remedy this by proclaiming germanica a hybrid and reassigning the type for the genus to Iris aphylla. As with any taxonomic changes they are only good if other taxonomists begin utilizing them and unfortunately, either from ignorance or lack of concurrence this has not caught on. One of my pet peeves is that taxonomic change often occurs simply with the publication of a new flora. The part I hate about that is seldom are any justifications given for the changes. Today it has gotten somewhat better, but still changes occur in cladistic diagrams and because they appear to have the weight of statistics they are often accepted. Since I am a skeptic, I always have questions, but I am also a pragmatist, and am willing to use a system if it can serve some practical purpose despite my doubts as to its validity. Certainly the ?Germanica Complex? brings together a group of plants that appear to have relationships. How these will finally sift out is yet to be determined. Certainly the observations of people growing these plants has value, especially if it is recorded by articles that others can refer to. I will be very interested in what your seeds produce.

My bias is to treat germanica as a natural hybrid, I would not include it as a part of Iris trojana, or any of the tetraploid species although I suspect one of them was its parent. The question then arises as whether trojana, mesopotamica, cypriana, are really variations of a single tetraploid species or not. I like Foster?s species Iris amasia so that I can distinguish it from germanica, but it may just be a form of Iris trojana ( actually I think amasia was named first but I would have to check). Several authors have commented that populations of these plants often contain individuals that would be associated with each of these species. If this is true, it would strongly suggest a single tetraploid species. Strangely I would guess, if I have my dates straight, that the name Iris amasia Foster would have priority. But I hardly ever hear anyone refer to Iris amasia as a species but only ?Amas? as a cultivar name.

I really hate seeing Iris germanica used as the Latin name for tall-bearded iris. If they are tetraploid, Murray published a valid botanical binomial Iris xaltobarbata and certainly this should be preferred. Unfortunately we do not have a really good choice for the diploid tall-beardeds. But Iris sibirica in front of modern Siberian Hybrids is also incorrect.


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