Re: SPU: New botanical Iris name
In a message dated 2/25/05 9:49:33 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<< For example, I have seen several informed publications listing spuria
hybrids as I. spuria and Siberian hydrids as I sibirica which only serves to
confuse an unknowing gardener.>>
Yes. It is everywhere. I think it is an attempt to grapple with the immensity
and variability of the genus, although I will tell you frankly I am
continually amazed at the level of ignorance about Irises generally in the professional
worlds of horticulture, even science. I'm not saying folks don't grasp the
finer points, I am saying it is sometimes really bad.
For example, I wanted to review Mrs. Hollingworth's "Flower Chronicles" for
my article on Iris persica. I decided to order a paperback of the recent
reprint done by the University of Chicago press since it was said to have a new
introduction by a noted botanist. And so it does, and the introduction, which I
quote briefly for critical purposes, evoking the Fair Use provision of the
copyright code, says "Both Iris germanica and some Arum species prefer damp marshy
<<Botanists still have not confronted the Iris germanica>>
Germanica is a source of confusion to me. Now, I am entirely autodidact in
all this, you understand, but I do like to try to understand things.
Notwithstanding Linnaeus, Strabo, and all that jazz, I just don't think the germanica
complex, so called, makes sense. Maybe it does on the microscope level but at the
eyeball level there are some problems. As someone interested in the garden
history of the Iris species, this is an issue for me.
<<You chose the name I prefer for the grex. Unfortunately its asset may also
be a problem. Iris xspuriae uses the same spelling as the Series Spuriae and
of course is made up of hybrids of this series. Unfortunately I am not
positive it is allowable to use a series name as a x name.>>
Oh, well. rats. If not, I guess the xspurica is the next best? I don't care
for the other if it can be avoided. Too many x's and i's...
<< I have an e-mail in to one of the authors so I hope to get a clarification
soon. I feel that I can press on such issues because I have no reputation to
An enormously liberating position. Good luck with the query. Yours was a
fascinating note, and I thank you for the time it took to share these
thoughts with us.
Anner Whitehead, in the throes of day three of a truly foul headcold.
Richmond VA USA.
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