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Re: HIST mystery iris

From: Mike Lowe <mlowe@worldiris.com>

James Brooks writes...
>Christopher Hollinshead of Mississauga, Ont., Canada correctly identified
>the Mystery Iris as Caesar's Brother. A new mystery is up at:

It is chancy to do an ID via photos, an even more death defying act to
question an ID but...

Here goes.

Caesar's Brother is an outstanding iris even today. It is high in the
category of absolutely distinctive 'Wow' iris. It has 'presence,'
'distinction' 'carry' or any other term you care to use for a 'head
turning' flower.

My reaction on viewing the photo of the 'Mystery Iris' was... "humm, an
average iris of the 30s, no particular distinction -- a real toughie on
which to venture a guess." "Could be any one of about three to four

The one thing that I was as positive as is possible on a photo ID, was: "It
certainly ISN'T Caesar's Brother!"

If you really believe that your 'mystery' iris is Caesar's Brother' I would
strongly advise that you obtain Caesar's Brother from at least one or more
reputable sources. Caesar's Brother has been EXTREMELY popular since its
introduction and is the most widely traded and sold Siberian ever. It is
also very often not true to name. In judging many shows and in making many
garden visits to gardens stretching Maine to South Carolina and Oregon to
California, Summer Sky and Ceasar's Brother are the two Siberians I have
found most often to be incorrect. Usually the incorrect 'Caesar's Brother'
is a Siberian of rich, dark purple. Where it misses is on form.

No one can make a positive ID from a photo, and the 'Mystery' photo that
you display might just happen be the most wretched and stunted bloom of
Caesar's Brother ever. But I doubt it. Usually when an irisarian shoots a
'mug shot,' that person is drawn to the best looking bloom on a clump. One
of the strongest and most accurate criticisms of the photos I take of old
cultivars is that I tend to try for a 'glamour shot.' Phil Edinger stresses
that when you shoot for display or identification you SHOULD try for 'the
most typical flower' available. This is very hard to do! You don't, for
example, deliberately try for a 'typical' shot of your kids, nor do you
often settle for a 'typical' shot of a flower. BUT WE SHOULD!!!

When you acquire, grow and display a collection of historic iris cultivars
you will experience bumps, surprises and revelations. It is well not to
invest a great deal of certitude in proclaiming any one of your babies as
'ABSOLUTELY THIS' or 'CERTAINLY THAT.' Almost every time that I have done
that, with a slide of the *Sure Thing* up on the screen in front of a
national audience, I have taken a prat fall. However, if it wasn't for the
uncertainties and challenge it would soon be boring and we would do
something else.



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