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Re: SPEC: I. lactea

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

My I. lactea is doing well under just ordinary border conditions, but it is
in about the sunniest place in my garden.  It's blooming right now, but
instead of its usual foot-tall stalks, it's only at about 3-4 inches.
Might be the effects of last year's drought.  Another clump in a really
tough place (crest of a quartzite ridge near the driveway and under pines)
doesn't flower, but it might be a lack of sun.

The dead and dry foliage of this iris is very tough and persistant.  In the
spring I find it best to cut it off before the new leaves appear, otherwise
it looks ratty at bloom time.

I wonder about the relationships of this iris to other iris species.  Like
spurias, there are nectar glands at the bases of the petals which attract
ants in abundance--the ants sometimes bite down the standards.  These same
or similar glands are found in I. foetidissima as well.  I wonder if anyone
has tried to cross lactea, foetidissima and spurias with any success?  A
few years back I tried foetidissima pollen on spurias without any sets.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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