HIST: Maj's Historic--A Word from Clarence!
I've taken the liberty of asking our friend Clarence Mahan, currently
President of The American Iris Society, to take a look at Maj's excellent
photographs of her unknown historic iris and tell us what he thinks. Clarence
is enormously knowledgeable and he has recently been doing a good deal of
research and thinking about remontancy, especially as regards the bearded
species. Since this is an area in which I know little I thought we would see
what Clarence had to say, and he has been kind enough to send along a little
essay, which he says I may post.
Enjoy, Maj, and all!
The iris Maj put on to a web page is almost certainly a hybrid. This is not
an original thought as Dykes was the first to observe regularly rebloom is a
characteristic that indicates hybrid origin. Even had I not known this,
however, once I saw the pictures of the iris I would have concluded that it is
a hybrid. I would be interested in knowing if the seed pods produce viable
seed, which if they do would be an indication that the chromosome count of the
parents were compatible. (An indication, but not conclusive).
It is likely that one of the parents is Iris aphylla, as the flower and some
aspects of the plant have Iris aphylla characteristics. (I recommend reading
what Dykes wrote about Iris aphylla in The Genus Iris, as it is still the most
useful information one can find.) Further, it is not uncommon for Iris aphylla
hybrids to have the reblooming characteristic. I have no guess as to what the
other parent could be, and indeed, this particular plant could even be an F2
or F3 product---but I suspect it is F1 because it looks like some other F1
Iris aphylla hybrids I have seen. The other parent could be any number of
iris species or hybrids.
If the iris is not an Iris aphylla hybrid, the only other parentage I would
venture a guess on would be that it is an Iris albertii hybrid. Iris albertii
hybrids have also been known to rebloom on a recurring basis. But the flower
of the Swedish plant looks much more like aphylla than albertii origin. The
nearly white beard is also a clue.
I am sure you realize that there are limitations of looking at pictures on the
internet---but the photographs of the Swedish iris are particularly good, and
I commend the photographer who certainly has a botanists eye. I hope my ideas
are useful, and you may feel free to pass them on so long as everyone
understands that they are just guesses...nothing conclusive. Warm wishes,
P.S. Anyone who wants to breed some new and fabulous reblooming irises could
do worse that use Iris aphylla and Iris albertii as parents to start new
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