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HYB: Proliferations

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

Gary D. Sides wrote:

>  Since we have had all the discussions on proliferations, I thought I'd
throw in my $.02 worth.  I believe that >  along with breeding out disease
resistance and wide adaptability from the annual re-setting that most west
>  coast breeders practice, while never seeing an iris in a clump to check
esthetics, the ability has been bred >  out of modern irises to produce
proliferations.     :)    Bet that stirs up some controversy.

I don't know about the effect on the gene pool itself, but our cultural
practice of prompting removing bloom stalks certainly prevents expression
of the trait.  The ones I reported earlier appeared in an experimental seed
bed.  A few of the first-to-germinate were already blooming while
second-year germination was continuing.  Not wanting to risk exposing the
babies to full sun, instead of removing the shade cloth to accommodate the
stalks we raised it over the entire bed.  Then because of their relative
inaccessibility, the stalks in that bed escaped cutting in the usual
garden-cleanup -- and some formed proliferations.  

From Tell Muhlestein's 1960 catalog section "Random Notes and Hybridizing

I have been asked what, if anything, can be done about "Lost Chords". 
These are seedlings that bloom without increase.  It is my belief that we
often "cause" this by improper planting -- that we plant theseedlings too
shallow or allow the soil to wash away or be worked away from the plants --
leaving the little round rhizome on top of the ground -- sitting, as it
were, like a duck sits upon water.  However, some of the "lost chords" are
naturally without increase and there is, I believe, nothing tha can be done
to induce them to make increase if they are normally blind and no increase
"eyes" are present.  If Isee that a seedling is blooming without increase I
take these precautions:  I place soil back around the rhizome (if it is
partially uncovered) and if the flower is worthwhile and one I want to
save. (Many of these often are, although they can be deceiving, too, for
when they bloom without normal increase they often bloom with large flowers
and heavier substance than they might have if they wre blooming on normal
plants with increase since all the strength has gone to the making of the
bloom.)  I pollinate every bloom for this keeps the plant growing and green
since the stalk must remain green to feed the pod (if a pod has formed.) 
Some of these "lost Chords" sill bear pollen, others will not, and still
others will refuse to set seeds by a wide variety of pollens.  In no case
do I recommend cutting the stalk to try to "force" increase -- this will
only hasten drying up of the stalk and quicker loss of the plant.  Often
these "lost chords" will, if forced to pod or left alone, make stem
proliferations at some point along the stalk -- after these have grown
enough to make little rhizomes, a few leaves and perhaps slight root
formation, they can be cut (leaving attached to the stalk) and stared in
sand and peat mixture. The Lost Chords may be fed during the growing season
from time to time with liquid manure, liquid fish fertilizer, or other
liquid fertilizers to stimulate growth.  Caution should be used, however,
that too much fertilizer is not used or the plant may be destroyed or
"burned" in an effort to obtain growth and increase.  I would not, in any
case, either, recommend lifting and moving such "lost Chords" this would
cause shock and might, in the process, cause the loss of a tiny increase
that may be starting.  Leave the plant in the garden, making sure to water
regularly, feed and watch over it. If proliferations start and there are no
pods to keep the stalk green and weather is hot one may have to provide
partial shade to keep the proliferation and stalk from dring.  If no
increase shows by late fall the plant is probably a true LOST CHORD."

Sharon McAllister

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