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Re: Starting out in iris-identification

In a message dated 7/27/2003 7:46:00 PM Central Standard Time, 
kathges@yahoo.com writes:

> Hi Holly and all,

Holly and other newbies,  

Identifying older iris can be fun. Most of us have tried, with varying 
degrees of success, when we're first bitten with the 'iris virus!'  

Keep in mind that identifying an older purple iris is virtually impossible 
unless it has a VERY distinct characteristic.  (no examples here) 

1) Many purples have been introduced that are very similar.

2) Through out the years, unidentified iris have been distributed throughout 
the iris world.  Ex: You come to my seedling bed, express a liking for an iris 
you see.  I respond that I have no plans to introduce it. You talk me into 
giving you a piece, anyway!  (I speak from experience) Later, you or your 
ancestors share that iris. 

3) Many iris hybridizers sell unintroduced seedlings as landscape iris. A lot 
of very strong irises get passed on this way. (This may even be what gets 
into the unreliable nursery trade)

4) Bee pods form and are allowed to mature in iris beds everywhere.  If left 
unattended, these seed fall to the ground and sprout.  (Maybe next year, but 
maybe 10 years from now.) Owner of iris bed thinks his/her iris changed color, 
or more likely just never notices the difference.  Said seeding is strong and 
takes over the site.  Iris is passed on either as unknown, or as original 

Most of the above can never be identified because they were never registered. 

Your best bet is to buy from reputable iris sources or local club sales. (as 
stated by others) What I'm saying here is don't depend on irises from the bins 
at Walmart & Lowes to be identified correctly, or non-iris catalogs sent to 
your home. (Who's still in business?)  Our sale (SKIS) was held on Saturday, 
and each rhizome goes for $3.00. We sell from the display garden and member's 
homes. Hang around near the end of the sales and bargains tend to pop up! 

Neighbors are a good source, IF they keep up with the names of their irises.  
Even the most careful can misidentify. 

Betty W. in South-central KY Zone 6

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