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  • Subject: [PHOTO] [iris-photos] L90-1
  • From: "Neil A Mogensen" neilm@charter.net
  • Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 07:38:14 -0400

Your  seedling from OWYHEE DESERT---it is beautiful, Roberto!

I see on the label you have the spelling correct for OWYHEE.

This is a strange word anywhere except in the area in the SE Oregon High
Desert country and adjoining SW Idaho.  The largest county in Idaho is
Owyhee County, and the mountain and desert area in Oregon just west of it
also bear the name OWYHEE.

The origin of the name came from an early phonetic transcription of the
Hawaiian language name for Hawaii.  That the word was rendered OWYHEE in
those early years is not difficult to understand, as the pronunciation of
the two words, Hawaii and Owyhee, is nearly the same.

The name was applied to the area because the Rhyolite volcanic landscape
resembles some of those landscapes found in the dry areas in Hawaii.  Some
early pioneers had some Hawaiian men with them (God alone knows how or why
considering the early dates involved).  It was they who made the connection
and gave the name.

Lucille Pinkston lives in Parma, Idaho, an area just north and north-east of
the prominant landscape of the Owyhees.  She is the originator of several
irises using the name, including the one you used--Owyhee Desert.

Bruneau, from which the name BRUNEAU JASPER is taken, is famous for its 800
foot deep, vertical walled canyon of the Bruneau River, and also the area as
the source for the beautiful and colorful Idaho Jasper semi-precious
gemstones.  Bruneau is a very small town in the easternmost part of the
Owyhee country.

The reason I am aware of all this is that the first 45 years of my life was
spent within 15 miles of Lucille Pinkston's garden, in a landscape from
which the Owyhee country was highly visible.

Neil Mogensen  z 7  Reg 4  western NC mountains

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