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SPEC: swedish iris

From: "Dan & Marilyn Mason" <dmason@rainyriver.Lakeheadu.Ca>

On 12/26/1998 Maj Ohrstrom wrote:

<The adress is:         http://www.algonet.se/~pajden

I hope it will work and I do really hope that some of you
will have time to
take a look at my unknown . Maybe someone recognizes it

Your iris looks very similar to an iris I found growing in a
couple small clumps near an abandoned homesite 2 km south of
here. It had been growing unattended for more than 40 years
near where the foundation of a small house would have been
had it had a foundation. I planted it in a perennial bed and
it was mostly crowded out and unnoticed for 10 years.

When I first cultivated this iris cleanly in rows in a
garden with afternoon shade, and we had 3 wet summers in a
row, there was some rebloom continuously throughout the
summers and until near the first frosts. The last few
summers have had prolonged dry weather in mid to late summer
and there was no rebloom.

I joined the Canadian Iris Society and borrowed books by
mail from their library to identify this local iris. The
nearest match seemed to be I. Aphylla. The first two photos
at your website look similar to my local iris except my iris
was more purple than blue. My iris is closer to the color in
your photo #5.

The iris in your photos is taller than my iris. My iris
begins blossoming at ground level in May and sends up taller
and taller stalks as the fans grow taller. The tallest
stalks my iris produces are closer to 37-38 cm. The reblooms
come from shorter and shorter stalks to the sides of clumps
until the last blossoms appear close to the ground (similar
to the first blossoms in the spring). My iris receives
continuous snow cover for the coldest 5 months of each

I think I see signs of sickle-shaped leaves in your photo
#8. My iris had more sickle shaped leaves than most hybrid
bearded irises. By winter the fans would die back to the
ground and dry up so they were hardly noticeable in the

My iris made seed without my help in wet years. The seeds
were rough textured, dusty, rusty in appearance. They
produced offspring exactly like the parents.

The rhyzomes in your photo #6 look like the rhyzomes of my
iris. After wet years in the following spring I have dug
rhyzomes with 3 'generations' still attached. When digging
up a clump that has grown for several years it would be easy
to see why you would use the word 'creeping' to describe the
growth of the rhyzomes. I don't think I would define my
iris's growth as 'creeping.'

My iris grows similarly to hybrid bearded irises except more
generations of rhyzomes are present and still connected.
Whenever I divided and replanted or traded rhyzomes I only
used the 'youngest individual rhyzomes.' However when I
received rhyzomes of several I. Aphylla from Bruce
Richardson he included 2 young rhyzomes still connected in a
Y shape to the older rhyzome they grew from for each start
he sent.

Also my wife thinks the iris I found locally had a little
bit of yellow in or near the beard. I'm going to have to
take more photos of plants in the future for scanning and
sharing and comparing. Speculation on how my local iris
arrived here: The first european immigrant settlers here
(early 1900's) were mostly northern european- many families
from Sweden, Norway, Ukraine, as well as U.K., Holland,
Germany, France.

I have been calling my local iris an 'aphylla,' because it
seemed to be the closest match in photos and descriptions in
my limited reading, and because it seems similar to the I.
Aphyllas traded to me by Bruce Richardson. If you find a
species which is a better match to your unidentified iris,
I'd would appreciate hearing what you come up with.

I had not yet joined the iris-talk list when you sent your
letter in August, and have still not read much of the
archives. It's good you tried again, and posted your photos
on your site. It has been -15C. to -30C. (mostly below
zeroF.) the last week here, and our 2 adopted sons have been
cleaning the snow for a hockey rink on a frozen lake half a
mile north of here with 3 neighbor kids. They stay out for
about 4 hours at a time and keep a fire going to warm up
between games.

Dan Mason  zone 3/ NW Ontario

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