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Re: CULT: Bloom Out

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

>The party line holds that we get one and only one stalk from each rhizome.
>So usually when people talk about more than one stalk coming on an iris,
>they mean coming from its clump. But -- please don't yell at me, folks, I
>have SEEN this -- every so often you'll see some weird mutation in which it
>sure as heck looks as though there are two stalks emerging from the same
>growth point.

I've seen this too.  Here's what seems to happen: A rhizome that is VERY
well grown will produce a lot of increase for the next (second) year.  Some
of these increases are in fact nascent bloom stalks, which will develop
alongside the main, terminal bloom stalk in the spring.  I've also seen
bloomstalks emerging from the leaf axils of the fan, in addition to the
main terminal.  As I say, this happens only under the very best of
conditions or with a vigorous cultivar.  I do remember reading that this
was inherited through I. aphylla...

>We saw all kinds of oddness in Little Rock last spring, including a mutant
>growth of baby rhizomes atop a stalk of DREAM LOVER -- instead of a bloom.
>There was a spathe, but instead of a flower there was a circlet of all
>these little baby rhizomes. Weird.

Very, very rarely irises will produce new rhizomes along the bloomstalks.
I had an I. virginica seedling years ago that did this regularly--every
leaf on the bloomstalk subtended a little plant, roots and all.  This seems
to happen fairly often with daylilies and is probably analogous to the
bulbils produced in the leaf axils of lily stalks.

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

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