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SPEC:Pseudacorus-An appreciation


I would like to make some loud appreciative noises about "The Yellow Swamp
Iris", Iris pseudacorus, a species whose great capacity for adaptation and
natural vigor have resulted in it having been a subject of apprehension and
cautionary tales, some of which are probably to be heeded.

I am very fond of this plant, which I encountered as an established clump in
the yard of the house I bought, and I wondered for a long time why, when I
praised it, more sophisticated irisarians rolled their eyes. As I looked
about, however, it became apparent that the species was highly variable and
there were some bone ugly forms of it around. Nasty things, weedy, with dirty
irregular brown veining on their strident yellow, flimsy, falls. My
pseudacorus, which is not a named selection, is, on the other hand, a clear
golden yellow with virtually no veining, and has superb foliage and smaller
flowers of very nice texture and refined form. It is drought tolerant and
grows in the hottest dryest area of my yard. Volunteer seedlings are a minor
problem there.   In addition to the original, I have no-name white, cream and
butter yellow forms, all grown from seed. These are among the most dependable
and beautiful of my beardless irises. They give me great joy. There are
several attractive modern registered hybrids and selected clones available
commercially which offer further refinements of the species.  

I defer to those with more knowledge of that subject with regard to the
threat that this species may pose to other vegetation when grown in water or
released into the wild, but I can and do recommend the more attractive forms
as supremely beautiful garden irises which present few problems. Vigor and
beauty, what more do you want in a garden plant?

Anner Whitehead, Richmond, VA
Henry Hall  henryanner@aol.com

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