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HYB: Flower of the Rainbow

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

James Brooks wrote:

>  We are normally taught about color in art class by use of the color
>  and I think this may affect the thinking of those who think of breeding
>  red iris by various combinations of the colors we have. 

>  My memory is pretty half-baked over these years but what struck me was
>  the specrum runs from ultra-violet to infra-red with no wrapping around
>  meeting again, so breeding probably is not related to mixing pigments in
>  art class. 

It's only one aspect of breeding for color, and even then it's not a true
mixture of pigments but a matter of layering them for the desired effect.

>  We do ourselves disservice in calling purple flowers reds in the world
>  iris. They are nowhwere near red. 
>  In my very unscientific way I posited that perhaps the reason we don't
>  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. 

True, the pigment for spectrum red has been rarely found in iris and I know
of no case where it's been identified in a TB.  Lycopene, the pigment
responsible for tangerine pinks, is one of the carotenes.  That makes it
convenient to think of its limit as tomato red.  We can get beards and
signals that appear quite "red" because the pigment has greater
concentration in those areas.  Getting "red" standards and falls is another

Sharon McAllister

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