Re: Re: HYB: Freezing Iris Seeds
- Subject: Re: [iris-talk] Re: HYB: Freezing Iris Seeds
- From: email@example.com
- Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 20:21:09 EDT
In a message dated 8/25/01 9:19:54 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
<< Please forgive what may seem to be, depending on how you take them,
petulant or impertinent or silly or foolish questions from a person who is
not into or interesting in doing hybridizing, but for the life of me I can't
understand why one would want to go to the trouble, expense and extra time of
something like having to use liquid nitrogen to freeze your seeds. Why do
this when so many, it seems, have great success without resorting to all
that? Why do this when the way seeds are treated in nature certainly doesn't
involve such procedures? Why isn't a method good enough or even more
preferable that imitates as nearly as feasible the natural state of what
happens when a seed ripens, falls to the ground, and in time, as winter
comes, gradually gets cold and (if you live far enough north) freezes and
stays that way for a while, then warms up and begins to grow? I read of high
germination rates from several of you who don't resort to such elaborate
procedures and then wonder why anyone would want to or feel compelled to do
more. I don't mean this to be critical or offensive; just trying to
Natural methods would certainly be preferable if gardeners were willing to
settle for the species that are naturally suited for their own climates.
[WARNING: I'm going to simplify this by using North America as an example --
no offense to listmembers living on other continents is intended!]
Comparing the climatary regions of their native lands with the climatary
regions of the North America, we could expect:
1. The diploid species of eastern Europe to thrive in the northeastern
United States and a narrow strip of southeastern Canada, as far west as the
Mississippi Valley, roughly as far south as the Mason-Dixon Line.
2. The diploid species native to northwestern Europe to thrive in coastal
Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
3. The tetraploid species native to the Mediterranean to thrive in coastal
4. The southern oncos to be at home in the desert southwest of the United
States and parts of Mexico.
5. The northern oncos and the regelias to acclimate to the high deserts of
the western United States.
This would leave parts of the United States and most of Canada and Mexico as
non-iris-growing regions -- and irisarians have not been willing to settle
But the good news is that there is some overlap -- especially between the
environment needed by the diploid species of central and eastern Europe, but
also between the diploid & tetraploid species that are the ancestors of our
modern TBs. There are areas in which two different types can be grown --
albeit not optimally -- and thus hybridized to obtain descendants that are
more tolerant of a wide range of climates.
The catch is that the two ancestral types may have very different germination
requirements. Even though their hybrids have great potential to adapt to a
wider range of conditions, if they can't be germinated they'll never reach
that potential. So hybridizers have resorted to a variety of "Enhanced
With advanced generations, hybridizers have the choice of line-breeding and
selecting for ease of germination or out-crossing to broaden performance
potential. Some do both, in an attempt to stabilize a line.
In any case, there is no simple answer. In the modern world of iris, natural
germination and enhanced germination each has its place.
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