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Re: HIST: Amas

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] HIST: Amas
  • From: "David Ferguson" manzano57@msn.com
  • Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 00:34:13 -0600
  • Seal-send-time: Mon, 1 May 2006 00:34:13 -0600

Hi Francelle,
The red behind the Iris is 'Austrian Copper' (= Rosa foetida 'Bicolor').  Dates back to at least 1596.  It only blooms once in the spring, but puts on quite a show for two or three weeks.  It's always been a favorite of mine. 
'Austrian Copper' mostly has yellow backs on the petals (don't really show In the photo).  Sometimes a few yellow flowers or broken red & yellow flowers are produced.  Occasionally branches or whole plants revert to entirely yellow flowers.
'Austrian Copper' is a sport of the normal form of R. foetida, which is the yellow 'Austrian Briar' (apparently really from the Near East).  The yellow one is also quite striking.  It is the source of much of the yellow "blood" in modern Roses.
I hear that R. foetida is susceptible to disease in moist climates, but from the Great Plains westward, at least away from the coast, it is basically disease free, and very tough.  It can handle occasional temps into the low 100's in summer (as long as nights are cool), and down to at least -50 F briefly in winter.
Closely related are 'Harison's Yellow' (= 'Yellow Sweet Briar' and 'The Yellow Rose of Texas') and 'Persiana' (= 'Persian Yellow').  Both are double yellows, with 'Persiana' being a double R. foetida, and 'Harison's Yellow' being R. foetida X R. spinosissima.
These are all "pioneer roses" that followed settlers west.
The planting behind 'Amas' wasn't planned, but I agree it is a really nice effect.

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