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Re: SPE - iris dichotoma

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: SPE - iris dichotoma
  • From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 11:24:01 -0700 (MST)

Iris dichotoma is now Pardanthopsis dichotoma.  The plants don't have long
rhizomes, but a growing point from which short stems supporting fans of
leaves emerge.  The flowering stem can reach 4-5 ft. and is much-branched.
The flowers are iris-like and small, about an inch and a half in diameter,
and in colors ranging from dark purple to white.  Usually a medium lavender
is the most common color.  This species is often called the Vesper Iris,
because the flowers open early in the evening, and by next morning are
coiled into tight spirals.  Each flower only lasts a few hours, but many
are produced in succession.

The seeds should be started now if you want flowering plants the first
summer.  Use the usual methods of first soaking the seed overnight and then
planting it in a moist potting mix.  The seed seems to germinate well
either with or without a cold period.  When seedlings emerge, move them up
to larger pots as needed to keep them growing. After frost danger has
passed, plant them outdoors in fertile soil in full sun.  Make sure they do
not dry out during the summer.  They should grow rapidly, and some will
bloom at the end of the summer or early fall (Claire, I doubt this will be
possible in Z4).  The plants are fairly hardy and should winter over.
North of Z6 I would protect them with a mulch.

The plant is a short-lived perennial (lasting 2-3 years without
transplanting or dividing), so to keep it going start new seed every few
years.  Abundant seed is produced by mature plants but I have not allowed
it to self-seed here.  I suspect that it would, abundantly.

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

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