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Re: CULT: Purple Leaf Bases

From: "Randy C. Meuir" <rmeuir@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

On Sat, 12 Dec 1998, Jeff and Carolyn Walters wrote:

> From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <cwalters@digitalpla.net>
> > From: vince lewonski 
> Vince,
> As you say, there is an impression current among iris growers that
> cultivars with purple based foliage (pbf) are more vigorous and healthy.
> Sharon McAllister attempted to do a study to test this hypothesis in 1997,
> but unfortunately,  there was not enough data to reach conclusive results.
> In my own experience I would say that, as a group, TBs with pbf perform
> well above average, but this conclusion is based on limited observations as
> only about 5% of the TBs I have been growing for a while exhibit pbf. I
> have been convinced enough that there is something to this notion that I
> have been deliberately seeking out more pbf cultivars for the past two
> years, and so far the results have been promising (i.e., all the newly
> acquired pbf cultivars have been performing better than average). There is
> one possible confounding effect here, however. It seems that a rather high
> proportion of pbf cultivars are plicatas, and it has been my experience
> that plicatas, whether they have pbf or not, are better than average
> performers as a group.
> I believe that modern TBs inherit pbf from I. variegata (and possibly I.
> aphylla?). These are the two most cold hardy species that contribute
> significantly to the ancestry of TBs, so pbf could be an indicator that
> cultivars that exhibit it have also inherited a greater share of hardiness
> factors along with it.
> Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4, Sunset Zone 2)
> cwalters@digitalpla.net
Jeff or Vince,
I found your discussion very interesting because I was thinking of
hybridizing to extend the purple base throughout most of the length of the
leaf. I know a hybridizer that is already working on this and is
said to be working with seedlings whose leaves have purple
coloration extending to about half their length. In a group of
my seedlings from INSTRUCTOR early this Spring I noticed that on several
of the seedlings the leaves were almost entirely purple. As the weather
warmed they showed less purple but still retained more than you usually
see. I thought I might cross these sibs to see if I can bring the
characteristic out. 
Most of my other INSTRUCTOR seedlings have pbf. I believe I read somewhere
that SPINNING WHEEL was from I. aphylla breeding. If this is correct it
could be the source of the pbf genes in my INSTRUCTOR seedlings. I do
know that the SPINNING WHEEL decendants that I grow, eg. POINT IN TIME,
are very strong plants here. They are also some of my favorite flowers. 
Do you know if I. aphylla is in the background of SPINNING WHEEL? Do you
think extending the purple throughout most of the leaf would have any
effect on the health (or strength)of the plant?       

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