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NOV: Polytepals and other Novelties

  • Subject: NOV: Polytepals and other Novelties
  • From: oneofcultivars@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 22:48:14 EDT

My questions were asked in an effort to improve my communication skills, 
increase my knowledge, improve my iris hybridizing efforts, and in general, 
satisfy more than just idle curiosity. To clarify, polytepel in daylilies is 
used to designate flowers producing more than the common three tepals 
encountered in most flowers, with double daylilies being a special case of 

That being said and not being a botanist, the iris bloom is essentially 
constructed in a similar configuration as the daylily and most other flowers. 
I sectioned some to confirm this. The outside of the ovary is formed by the 
falls (called sepals in many blooms). This is easily observed without 
sectioning a bloom. Continuing inward another concentric ring is formed 
inside the falls by the standards (called tepals in many blooms). The flower 
must be sectioned to observe. A third concentric ring is formed by the styles 
(called styles thankfully in many flowers).

At one point, I grew Six Pack. I killed it with shade before I examined its 
flower construction and well before I would even have been inclined to. It 
did give the appearance of having six falls. I question whether these are 
indeed six falls or 3 falls and three standard that look like falls?

A web site/page that presented polytepals, freaks, novelties, standardless or 
whatever you wanted to call them would be a decidedly desirable convenience. 
Particularly when contrasted with looking in 2 gillion places for the less 
than 2 dozen irises so far suggested (incidentally none of which have been 
specifically identified as having four falls or standards), chasing a thread 
I may or may not loose, etc., etc.
I personally would call such a page/site polytepals, the term being 
recognized across a broader spectrum.

Input from a qualified botanist with some leaning toward the practical would 
have much merit in this discussion. Hope they weigh in. Their knowledge of 
bloom nomenclature would be of certain benefit on this subject.

Points made about early identified novelties are respected here. Essentially, 
given time and inclination, any hybridizer (or insect) can produce another 
pretty flower. Producing the unique and recognizing the exceptions to the 
rules of common, routine and ordinary are somewhat more difficult.

Novelty as a descriptive term is broad to say the least. As an iris group it 
appears to function as a catch all for registrations a hybridizer believes to 
have merit but do not fit elsewhere. Taken to the logical extreme, each 
seedling is unique and hence a novelty.

The posted picture of Little Freak heightens my curiosity creating a near 
insatiable need to acquire and section one of each of the polytepals/whatever 
mentioned in posts to this thread.

Jeff Walters' points are well made. From the novelty definition through the 
enlightening history. If one accepts the novelty definition and gives some 
thought to "new" logic suggests novelty cannot exist for long even though the 
time span itself may be arguable. I do not believe "flash in the pan" to be a 
valid reality in itself. "Currently in vogue" fits more appropriately. Herein 
lies the hybridizers dilemma. To me, any gene producing an identifiable bloom 
characteristic is of value, either through inclusion, exclusion, 
amplification or reduction. Market forces dictate otherwise.

Readin' yawls posts on this subject has been a rite fine education and I 
really preciate the efferts they took. Wern't much oil on the track and the 
ramps gittin easier to climb. Old Mark Martin jist finished makin a statement 
fer old hands. Right glad too, yawl didn't just say "Hey Bill, there ain't 
none of them kind."

Respect, thanks, and smiles,
Bill Burleson 7a/b
Old South Iris Society

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