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Re: Iris Germanica/Albicans

In a message dated 96-12-07 03:01:59 EST, you write:

<< Albicans is a very old white iris of intermediate height.  It was spread
 from Yemen throughout the Mediterranean area and into Spain by the
 Mohammedans, who planted it at their grave sites.  

I know that I. albicans (and its purple form, i.e. I. madonna) were collected
in Yemen. And that much iris literature, botanic and otherwise, gives Yemen
as the origin of I. albicans. But, at the time I. albicans was collected in
Yemen, it could have been collected almost anywhere in the Mediterranean
region.  It was growing by the acres in Southern France, for example.  Since
we now know thru chromosone count that I. albicans is a hybrid iris, not a
species, and since there are no other non Aril species indiginous to Yemen,
it seems likely that I. albicans was taken to Yemen probably for use at grave
sites.  As in the case of I. germanica, we may never know where it
originated...but Yemen is most unlikely as a candidate.  

Interestingly, Elaine Hulbert, in the current issue of SIGNA, remarks that I.
postii (an aril species) is the only iris native to Yemen, unless one counts
I. albicans.  Elaine, who most "species" authorities would acknowledge as
exceptionally knowledgeable in such matters, was, I suspect, in her usual
soft-spoken manner,  letting others know her views on this matter.   Clarence
Mahan in VA

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