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Re: Alaska iris reportreport

In a message dated 96-05-17 16:30:46 EDT, you write:

>Here in Fairbanks, there are clumps of "wild" irises, according to the 
>natives, that are up and fanning well.  

The wild irises of Alaska are almost certainly Iris setosa, the only species
iris native to both Asia and North America.  This species also grows in
Canada, including Eastern Canada (but Tony Huber reports that the smaller
"Iris setosa" that grows in Eastern Canada may in fact be a separate species
from setosa (it was originally thought to be a separate species, Iris
hookeri, but has been generally regarded my modern taxonomists as Iris setosa
subspecies canadensis...now, based on chromozone count, it appears it may
again merit separate species designation, i.e. it would be again designated
Iris hookeri). There are considerable variations in the I. setosa in Alaska,
and at least 3 subspecies, I. setosa subsp. arctica, I. setosa subsp.
interior, and I. setosa subspecies platyrhyncha.  There is a gorgeous white
form from Japan named Kosho-en.  The potential for these irises as garden
flowers is tremendous, and I for one wish some hybridizers, especially young
people just starting, would take on the expansion of colors and forms of
setosa, to include obtaining nice white dwarf formss, as a primary goal.  One
could really make a name for himself (note I refuse to use the politically
correct terminalogy!) in this area. Hope someone on the net will take the
challenge!  Clarence Mahan in Virginia (who grows a nice couple of forms of
I. setosa, as everyone should.)

P.S. Iris setosa is great for use in flower arrangements!.  

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