HYB: flower of the rainbow
From: James Brooks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We are normally taught about color in art class by use of the color wheel,
and I think this may affect the thinking of those who think of breeding the
red iris by various combinations of the colors we have.
While driving to work in a light rain yesterday, the sun came out creating
a lovely rainbow, which got me to thinking of the flower of the rainbow,
and I noted as well I could the sequence of color as I learned it in
biology, rather than art classes - from ultra-violet to infra-red, with
green being the center of the spectrum, and recalled that the visible color
spectrum is just a small part of a much greater spectrum of rays that
include all communications band widths, x-rays and gamma rays etc.
My memory is pretty half-baked over these years but what struck me was that
the specrum runs from ultra-violet to infra-red with no wrapping around and
meeting again, so breeding probably is not related to mixing pigments in
We do ourselves disservice in calling purple flowers reds in the world of
iris. They are nowhwere near red.
In my very unscientific way I posited that perhaps the reason we don't find
red iris (except in the progeny of I. fulva), is that the genetic color
spectrum for iris is centered in the purple-blue end of the specturm. If
you try to mix colors from opposite ends of the spectrum you will likely
get brown tones, not the primary red.
Following that logic, tulips would be centered in the hot end of the
spectrum, explaining why there are no blues (but the lovely range of
purples begins to put some holes in this theory).
The joker is that you get pinks from somewhere off the spectrum, by mixing
white with red. The question being, can red be bred from pink?
This whole line of reasoning probably brings howls of laughter from
experienced hybridizers, but hey, when you don't have a cell phone you have
to have something to do while driving to work. If we all just paid
attention to traffic, how would the police and paramedics spend their time?
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