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Re: Re: Popularizing non-TB iris

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

In the spirit of Dennis' post, and perhaps being a bit of devil's advocate
("Pleased to meetchew, hope you've guessed my name...")

>(#3) "Bearded Irises Are The Most Adaptable..." (direct quote from Bill
>Shear, but the same sentiments held by most everyone else on Iris-Talk and
>in AIS, including Clarence Mahan our prez who told me this in an email last
>	I am sick to death of hearing this!  Beardless irises naturally
>occur on 4 continents.  Bearded irises only span 1.5 continents.  How does
>that make them more adaptable?????????????????????????????????????  It must
>be that new math or something...

No new math, just old scientific logic and observation.  Beardless irises
consist of a half-dozen sections--compare any one of these sections to the
single section containing all bearded species (arils included, even) and
you will see that few of them have the broad distribution of the bearded
forms--PCNs for example are extremely restricted.  So when you compare
"beardless" and bearded irises, you're comparing a single apple with a
crate of oranges.

Adaptability has little or nothing to do with breadth of natural
distribution.  Gardenability is usually a quality of plants that are
adapted to thrive in disturbed habitats (which is what our gardens are).
Most of our garden plants are glorified weeds.  It would appear from
experience that of most iris groups, the bearded species are best able to
handle such situations.  Hence the contention that they are most adaptable

Don't confuse cause and effect.  AIS devotes most space to TBs because that
is what most its members grow, and what most people were growing long
before AIS was founded (only in 1920!).  AIS responds to the needs and
wants of its members, and while it may try to educate them, it has no power
to make anyone grow anything.  Let's face it, folks love them TBs!  We
might put that in the same category as white-painted tractor tires planted
with geraniums, but it's a fact of life.

And, so what? The other forms of irises are readily available to you, me,
and anybody who wants them.  Personally I don't give a hoot in hell what
anyone else grows.  Let 'em do as they please, and more power to them!

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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