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RE: HYB: JI X SIB hybrids

From: "J.F. Hensler" <hensler@povn.com>

From:	Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

1) This is a cross that has been tried many times without success, between 
two iris species that are not very closely related to each other.  It seems 
very unlikely that suddenly such a cross should produce abundant seed and 
that the progeny should themselves be very fertile.<<<

Okay, here's what we have so far.   From the top....

By comparing plants whose genetic makeup is more or less balanced and which 
are sterile or nearly so, you may be comparing apples to oranges.

If such a cross has happened before and the genetic makeup is UNbalanced in 
favor of one parent or the other it's unlikely to be noticed unless someone 
was watching for specific traits. Especially if the cv is a volunteer. 
Common procedure has been not to test plants which look predominantly like 
one species but to register them as what they resemble..

>>>2) Both species are very self-fertile and form volunteer pods with ease. 
We don't know if Christy took any precautions to avoid self-fertilization 
(emasculating seed parents, removing falls, tying up flowers, etc.)<<<

Opened the blooms myself on all plants involved and broke the falls off the 
JIs. Saved ONLY the seeds from the JIs. At the suggestion that my crosses 
might be the result of bees or thrips (!), I've since adopted a method of 
stripping a bud of all but the stylearms without waiting until it's ready 
to open.

Since I have it posted to show to a couple of friends, y'all are welcome to 
check out the method. If you can improve further, I'd be interested in 
suggestions. URL is http://www.povn.com/rock/stripshow.html. :)

>>>2) The seedlings look like EITHER sibericas OR ensatas; none that I have 
seen pictures of show combined traits or look intermediate between the 

If you mean by "combined", the bloom only... Not yet. A blended type wasn't 
a priority initially. If you mean combined traits showing in the entire 
plant, and behavior is included as well, then there are 2 Sib types whose 
leaves (once the plants are clump size) do a convincing imitation of 
Ensatas. Width of leaves and prominence of leaf ridges in Ensatas is so 
variable, I've been relying on behavior more than appearance as an 
indication that a plant may warrant a closer look.

The cross was tried because the JIs couldn't handle our poor soil and lack 
of water and I've focused more on the JI type seedlings.  At present, 9 
plants which escaped being gopher food in the lower garden over the winter 
are now a year old. They were germinated in and then replanted inside the 
"X" zone. This area is used primarily for testing of xeriscape plants. Soil 
is highly sandy, very poor, and in full sun. Ph has tested at 5.6.

Since tiny scabiosa lucida were being started along with the iris 
seedlings, this area received about 1/2" of water every 2 weeks last summer 
when it got hot. Day temps during the warmest part ranged between mid 80s 
and high 90s with no rain for about 2 months.

This year, the area has received no additional water. Rain has been below 
normal but temps have been cooler than normal. Depth of any noticeable 
moisture is now 4" below the soil surface. The upper 4" resembles coarse 
powder. Soil surface at midday, when temps are at least 85, feels hot to 
the touch.

5 of these plants look remarkably healthy and happy (so far). Of these, 3 
are exceptionally nice. At present, they look as good or better than their 
Sib type counterparts grown under slightly better conditions.

Oh, for the record.... the original notes refer to both JIs setting pods.

>>>3) There have been no chromosome counts or RFLP examinations of the 
seedlings to show the presence of genetic material from two different 

Of the 4 plants to have chromosome counts done, one (a JI type) showed 24 
Cs. The other 3 (1 JI type and 2 Sib types) showed 26 Cs. (I offer my 
apologies to everyone I bugged the heck out of when trying to learn to read 
C spreads and am eternally grateful for the patience you showed!)

The JI type that "flunked" spent two years blooming her little head off in 
one of the xeriscape display beds. She was moved when she started crowding 
the daylily. :)

In 1899 Charles H. Duell recommended closing the Office of Patents because
"Everything that can be invented has been invented".

Christy Hensler
Newport, WA

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