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Re: CULT: Why do some stay green, others lose all fans? in winter

  • Subject: Re: [iris-talk] CULT: Why do some stay green, others lose all fans? in winter
  • From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 09:23:16 -0700

> From: gesinelohr <GesineLohr@excite.com>
> Laetitia and I were commenting, and both of us (she in NJ and
> I in CA) have some potted iris with big fans, some with
> tiny fans, some have lost all leaves, some seem to be just
> rhizomes sitting there doing absolutely nothing.
> I have some vague recollection that these differences may be
> due to different amounts of species ancestry?? (e.g. pallida
> either keeps or loses foliage in winter....)?


Modern tetraploid bearded irises were created beginning about 100 years ago
by crossing the familiar diploid bearded irises derived from I. pallida and
I. variegata with newly discovered tetraploid forms of bearded iris from
the Middle East, including I. cypriana, I. mesopotamica, and I trojana. In
their native habitats in Europe pallida and variegata tended to be winter
dormant, while the Middle Eastern forms, coming from a climate somewhat
resembling that of California, initiated active new growth to coincide with
the autumn rains and continued growing through the mild winters. Both these
growrh tendencies have been passed on to their descendants and are
expressed variably in different cultivars. 

As Sharon Barss mentioned, almost all TB irises seem to retain green leaves
under the snow in climates that have adequate and dependable snow cover
throughout the winter, and even those that have a tendency to winter growth
have it suppressed by unbroken low temperatures. However, Linda Mann has
documented the adverse effects of these tendencies in climates with highly
variable winter weather.

BTW, we have finally gotten a start on our hopefully dependable snow cover
from what was left of that excessive Pacific Coast rain you mentioned.

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2, AHS Zone 7)

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