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Re: HYB:Product Identity[was: ?Black Andromeda]

The question about BLACK ANDROMEDA really does highlight the problem of
reliability in product identity.

Several times recently there have been references to something purchased
from a presumably reliable source and not proving to be true to type, enough
at variance from the true item that there is no doubt there is an error in
identification.  The industry-wide problem in keeping stock true to name,
especially with but hardly limited to unfamiliar historics, is a very
serious issue.

The other side of the problem is the remarkable variability in any single
variety depending on conditions--including at least pH, soil texture,
weather cycles, latitude and climate type, soil types, micronutrients--and
cultural care.  Weeds, water, wind, and an almost endless list of other
variables affect the appearance of a variety--some more than others.

One particular variety is notorious for its range.  Looking at a display
table of THORNBIRD at the annual show of a local society is almost a shock
at the variation in form, substance, hue, intensity of color and more.
Thornbird is by no means unique, however.

All varieties vary. It is remarkable when they vary as widely apart as the
R&I description of BLACK ANDROMEDA and Linda Mann's photo posted on
Iris-photos, Will Plotner's assurance about identity noted.

Black Andromeda is hardly alone.  A Schreiner or Cooley catalog photo of
some variety compared with what I see growing here in my garden in old, old
leached soil without  the volcanic ash-enriched supply of micronutrients in
Willamette Valley soils is just as dramatically different as that seen in
the problematic Black Andromeda contrast Linda notes.

I cringe when I see someone "identify" a NOID from seeing some on-line
photos and pouncing with great certainty on a possible match..

Repeatedly several writers have pleaded with people not to be hasty in
pinning names on unknowns.  Get a rhizome from a reliable source and grow it
side by side with the NOID--but even then it may take a sharp eye to say for
sure the unknown does or does not match the comparison plant.  Everytime a
name is pinned on an unknown incorrectly it "contaminates the field" since
these mislabeled plants have a tendency to travel far from home, carrying
the misidentification with them.

But then--the logic of buying a piece of something one already "has" is a
bit strange.  Why not just compost the unknown and stay with the newly
purchased item?  It is easy to understand why the casual grower ignores the

Neil Mogensen  z 7  Reg 4  western NC mountains

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