Re: SPEC: Iris pumila
In a message dated 2/7/2006 9:59:44 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<<I don't think the Schreiner pumilas went back as far as
1928 but I could be wrong certainly the were used
widely in hybridizing when they became available and
my guess would have been in the 40's.>>
It is the importation of seeds which I thought I recalled occurring in the
late 1920s. Then there would, of course, be the growing on.
The easiest place to trace it back would, I think, be the Schriener
catalogs. The earliest I have right here which appears to be useful is the 1936 where
named forms of the species are not yet offered but, on page 37, under
"Species and Unusual Types of Iris," is found an entry for-----
"Pumilla [sic]: a diminutive species whose flowers are without true stems,
being borne on elongated ovaries. Colors: blue, yellow, and purple. From
central Europe, near Vienna. We know of no-one else in American offerring true
stock of this species."
<< They were the first true pumilas we knew in this country.>>
I am inclined to phrase it that "they are the first pumilas we KNEW were
true in this country."
We really don't know what was being sold under the name in those decades and
centuries before people became sophisticated about things. As early as 1916
Louise Beebe Wilder, no one's fool, was complaining about getting the wrong
stuff when she ordered Iris pumila, and she knew the difference. There is this
from her book, "My Garden" of that date.
"Varieties of I. Chamaeiris and pumila are constantly sent out
misnamed--that is, the former is nearly [note that nearly] always sent where the latter is
ordered, and this is irritating since pumila is both dwarfer and prettier
than Chamaeiris and may be easily distinguished by the fact that it has NO
stem, while the taller sort has very distinctly an inch or two."
Richmond VA USA
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