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Re: Iris breeding

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Iris breeding
  • From: Tom Tadfor Little <telp@rt66.com>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Feb 1997 10:31:38 -0700 (MST)

Bill writes

:I read in the AIS Bulletin that there are from 800 to 900 registrations
:annually.  Do all of these varieties represent improvements over their
:parents or existing varieties?  Seems unlikely.  In fact, comparing
:pictures from THE WORLD OF IRISES (1978?) with pictures of today's
:varieties, I can see no overall improvement, if anything just some slight
:refinements.  In other words, for TBs at least, not much to show for 20
:years of development.

I agree thoroughly. I was out of the iris world between 1983 and 1993. The
only thing I noticed on returning was that the rebloomers were more
attractive. Everything else was the same.

:Can we conclude that breeders are catering to
:collectors and not to the general gardener?


:Is this a result of economic
:forces; are collectors the main buyers of iris rhizomes?

Yes; yes.

:The future for irises seems to lie in the more gardenable forms like
:Louisianas and  Siberians and perhaps the new things being developed from
:Iris versicolor.

That's the present. The future is that the beardless irises will be bred
into stagnation like the TBs have been.

:Is the era of the TB over?

They will always be popular garden plants, especially the tried-and-true
ones. But the era of TB *improvement* has definitely run its course. When
Cooley's gets that genetically engineered red, there'll be some excitement,
though. :)

The TBs are the result of taking genes from a very small handful of species
and rearranging them ad infinitum. The first umpteen thousand
rearrangements were interesting. Now it's re-run season.

Pardon my cynicism, folks!

Happy irising, Tom.

Tom Tadfor Little                   telp@Rt66.com
Iris-L list owner * USDA zone 5/6 * AIS region 23
Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)
Telperion Productions  http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

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