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SPEC: I. kashmiriana

  • Subject: SPEC: I. kashmiriana
  • From: Bill Shear <wshear@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 13:32:10 -0500

Clarence Mahan has been listening in on some of our conversation about
kashmiriana.  As some of you may know, he is researching for a book on
'Classic Irises' and so has at his fingertips much of what we know about
species.  Here's what he said in an e-mail to me (quoted with permission):

> Bill, you have a talent for jumping on topics of significance and perplexity.
> Nigel Service, who wrote the part of the BIS species book on Section Iris,
> does indeed indicate 2n=44, 48. But I do not know for certain where the 2n=48
> comes from.  Both Simonet and Randolph reported 2n=44 (see the appendix to
> "Garden Irises").   Service is the greatest authority on this iris, and by
> reading what he has written, you can see that he leaves many unanswered
> questions. 
> I suspect that the 2n=48 comes from the fact that Randoph indicates that I.
> bartonii is 2n=48 "(indicated from progeny counts)".  If one assumes I.
> bartonii is just a form of I. kashmiriana, and if one can rely on chromosome
> counts "indicated from progeny counts", I guess one could conclude that I.
> kasmiriana sometimes has a count of 2n=48.  But, I would conclude that I.
> bartonii and I. kashmiriana are not the same iris, and that the iris from the
> Vale of Kashmir has a chromosome count of 2n=44.
> Here is an interesting fact.  The two stud irises which Foster supposedly
> derived from I. kashmiriana are 'Kashmir White' and 'Miss Willmott'---the
> former Randolph counted as 2n=50, and the latter, 2n=51.  Wallace named and
> introduced these irises after Foster's death, but Randolph's examination of
> Foster's notes supposedly led him to believe that they could have been derived
> from I. kashmiriana.  Dykes, on the other hand wrote that Foster had told him
> that these cultivars were of doubtful parentage and "M. Denis finds that he
> obtains from them forms that are obviously akin not to kashmiriana but to
> mesopotamica."  I would add that their 2n count would also point to I.
> mesopotamica as a parent.
> I certainly agree with you that it is a mistake to call I. kashmiriana a
> Mediterranean species---indeed, considering the where the Vale of Kashmir is,
> it is a mistake to call it a Middle Eastern species.  (One does not usually
> regard the Indian subcontinent as part of the Middle East).
> I attempted growing "I. kashmiriana" a number of times. The ones that grew
> turned out to be I. florentina or I. albicans.  A number just rotted---they
> could have been the true I. kasmiriana but I shall never know.
> Re irises from Afganistan, Dykes wrote in 1918, that F. Denis disagreed with
> Dykes on considering I. bartonii as merely a synonym for I. kashmiriana. Denis
> said he was able to self I. bartonii, and it grew true from seed.  Dykes noted
> that I. bartonii is a smaller plant than I. kashmiriana, and that "the
> original plants of Bartonii came from Kandahar, and M. Denis tells me that
> others which I have received from Quetta and Abbottabad are slightly different
> forms and that all three reproduce themselves approximately true from seeds
> when self-fertilise, and remain distinct from I. kashmiriana."
> I hope you will keep me informed of any good information your email to the
> list brings in.  This is a subject that has great interest for me.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (434)223-6374
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"A man thinks as well through his legs and arms as his brain.  We exaggerate
the importance and exclusiveness of the headquarters.  Do you suppose they
were a race of consumptives and dyspeptics who invented Grecian mythology
and poetry?  The poet's words are, "You would almost say the body thought!"
I quite say it.  I trust we have a good body then."  --Henry David Thoreau,
Journals, Dec. 31, 1860.

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