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Iris tectorum variegatum and Van Bourgondien

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Iris tectorum variegatum and Van Bourgondien
  • From: Tom Tadfor Little <telp@rt66.com>
  • Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 15:47:23 -0700 (MST)

Bill Shear writes

:I'm pretty sure that if the picture in the Van Bourgondien catalog is of
:what they are actually offering, it is the much more common Iris japonica
:variegata, not tectorum variegatum.  The flowers shown in the picture are
:definitely japonica, not tectorum.  Iris japonica would not survive in Zone
:The true Iris tectorum variegatum is quite rare.  I believe there was a
:thread about this on the list before that resulted in one source being
:given, but I no longer have that file here at the office.

I ordered mine from Weiss Brothers Perennials (if I recall correctly), but
since it never bloomed, I can't say whether it was the real McCoy or not.
If it was in fact japonica, that would explain why it died outdoors in Los

:Of course there is a chance that they really do have tectorum and just got
:a picture of japonicum by mistake.  You will note in their fall catalog
:that they have a picture of a regeliocyclus hybrid labelled as "Spanish
:Iris."  If you order based on the picture you will be disappointed, since
:they in fact supply real Spanish Irises--smaller versions of Dutch Irises.
:I wrote the company about both these error more than a year ago and had no
:response, and the errors continue.  This is disappointing because I've been
:a customer for years and have always been satisfied with the good value
:they provide.

Yes, I agree on both counts. There are some people who have had very
disappointing experiences with them, though. Many people may be unaware
that there is a wholesale operation (K. Van Bourgondien and Sons) as well
as a retail one (Van Bourgondien Bros.). The former gives excellent value
for the money; the latter is more run-of-the-mill in its pricing. I've
never had a problem with any true bulbs or plants that are known to be
suited to bare-root treatment (irises, daylilies, cannas, hostas, etc.),
but some other perennials they offer may need some attention after they
arrive leafless and dehydrated. I've lost some of their more delicate
offerings by being too cavalier about just throwing them in the ground and

They probably get their photos from some Dutch nursery-supply business, and
don't have a clue what to do about the goofs.

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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