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PHOTO: Any value in using an old iris in hybridizing?
  • Subject: PHOTO: Any value in using an old iris in hybridizing?
  • From: Elmsterj@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 20:18:13 EDT

Hello, all.....Should one ever use an old iris in hybridizing?  That depends.  One must weigh the form of the modern hybrids against much older hybrids, and what must also be taken into consideration are the ancestors of these irises.  (It is a good winter pastime to study the AIS checklists.)  So why did I use a 70-year-old hybrid in a cross?  I am talking about the oncobred (an iris that has no regelia bloodlines so it is categorized as OB...1/2 onco) 'Capitola' (Reinelt, 1940).  It was used a lot in the 1940s and 1950s with 'Snow Flurry' and 'New Snow' to create a lot of hybrids known as "Mohrs", flowers mostly in violet, maroon, and similar colors.  It fell out of favor with arilbred hybridizers and has not been used much since, but I felt it still had potential.  It is only pollen fertile, so I risked using it with an SDB realizing that there was the possibility that the resulting seedlings would lose aril characteristics.  I used, as a pod parent, Paul Black's SDB 'Amusing' (2004).  I was interested in 'Amusing's coral pink beards and pink tones.  'Capitola' is a dark red violet, so I also risked the fact that violet is a dominant tone.  The resulting seedling that bloomed this year was an arilmedian in tones of buff-gold with some brown and burgundy dotting and veining.  The beards are bright orange, and there is a diffused signal spot.  It has nice domed standards (though one standard was slammed by a wind gust when the picture was taken) and rounded falls.  I can honestly say that, in this case, the choice to use an historic iris was the right one.  This one will be part of my "stable" of breeders for fertile arilmedians.  See photo below.

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