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Re: Iris verna, what is it?


You did not buy "junk" when you purchased a start of Iris verna.  It is one
of the species iris native to the SE United States.  I do not have a
reference book handy, but I seem to recall it being in the Evansias group.
It appears naturally here in Arkansas, and, indeed, Beth and Bob Matney of
Saline County, Arkansas recently gave me two rhizomes of the plant that
grows in abundance on their sandy soil in the piney woods of south-central
Arkansas.  [I am sad to report that at the same time that I planted these
gift I. verna, I dug up and moved my small clump of the white form of I.
verna.  I have grown it for 4 or 5 years in a location where it did not
bloom well due to very heavy shading from an encroaching hosta.  I used a
shovel and dug it deeply, trying to move it without disturbing the roots.
But, I noted yesterday that the entire clump is brown and appears
completely dead.  I am saddened by this because it was a gift from the good
folks who manage the Briarwood Nature Preserve in Saline, Louisiana, the
estate of the late Caroline Dorman (author of "Natives Preferred" and one
of the great self-trained naturalists of the 20th century).  At least I
have a few slides of it in bloom.]

Iris verna is a species that needs far greater distribution, but I suspect
it will never appeal to the general public because the flower is smallish.

By the way, I congratulate you on acquiring the Louisiana "Dixie Deb,"
which I consider one of the better cultivars.  It looks great in a large
clump next to a body of water.  (But, then, I guess ANYTHING looks great in
a large clump by a body of water!!!)

Tom Dillard
Little Rock, Arkansas USA
USDA Zone 7B

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