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Re: Freaks & other irritations

You will notice that individuals who have been messing with iris for
decades are somewhat slow to 'name names' of medians that throw extra
parts, or that exhibit non-typical flower attributes largely in response to
weather stress.

Why? Two possible reasons:

There are no 'black and white' villains or heroes in this phenomenon. The
fault can be triggered in many medians and will depend on where the
emerging budstalk is in its maturation cycle when the stress occurs. The
'extra-part' syndrome also correlates somewhat with plant vigor at the time
stress is experienced. Hard and fast pronouncements as to which cultivars
are susceptible can be completely different in a following season. However,
*some* cultivars are notorious for a propensity to fall prey to stress and
not 'behave.'

These stress-prone cultivars would never have been put on the market in a
perfect world. In some cases, a new plant was rushed to introduction before
sufficient testing was done to reveal the trait. Many times, the new plant
was not tried in widely varying areas prior to introduction and the fault
was exposed when the iris was grown around the country. It is tough to tell
a good friend that his/her baby is a stinker and should have gone to the
compost pile rather than the catalog. It is often just as distressing to
diss an individuals' non-perfect iris as it is to proclaim, "Oh look, that
child is disabled!" Rest assured that 'Tough Love' IS applied in the
balloting process, however.

Not right, perhaps; certainly not perfect -- but it's the way crotchety old
irisarians operate.

Mike Lowe, Virginia, USA

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