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SPEC: I.lactea

A recent talk at the Ottawa Valley Rock Garden Society included a slide
of Iris sintenisii form a garden in Ithaca which appeared to me to be a
good example of I.lactea.  In re-examining this issue, I noticed that
lactea seems to come in a wide range of colour forms.  Are they all

Starting with the illustration in Waddick and Zhao, despite the very
small picture, we see a flower which is reddish violet with a white
veined fall and violet edge.  This flower is very similar to the larger
photo in Glasgow on p. 77.  But what about the lactea that is
illustrated in the latest NARGS Bulletin on p. 272?  Completely white
falls and the colour of the standards and styles is blue rather than

Mathew [p.125] covers all bases by saying that the “flowers are blue,
bluish-violet or purple, the falls usually with a paler, whitish or
yellowish dark-veined haft.  White forms occur in mixed populations with
the blue...”.  BIS goes right off the scale claiming that the flowers
are “creamy-white” and offering no violet or other colours as an
alternative [p.202]. Kohlein broadens the situation further with
reference to flowers of “whitish ones with darker veins, pale blue ones,
cream colored, and also rich violet ones”[p.157].

Finally, I have a screen saver which is a field photograph of a flower
that looks like the Waddick lactea but is identified as ruthenica from
the Altai Mountains
[http://pisum.bionet.nsc.ru/kosterin/index.htm]. [I would note that this
is an excellent source of photographs of Central Asia plants and
butterflies in the wild]

It is obvious that lactea is very variable but can anyone tell me
whether the NARGS plant is lactea and the Altai “ruthenica” is really

Just thoughts for Christmas!

Ian, who is preparing to spend the holiday in the Queen Charlotte
Islands and San Francisco in order to avoid the in two feet of snow we
have in Ottawa.

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