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Re: HYB: Hexagonae:VINICOLOR


That is a very astute observation; but then we have come to expect no less.

Your roots must make you very familiar with the work of Dr. John K. Small in
the 1920's.  I believe he named and classified I. vinicolor.  Of the dozen or
so Hexagonae he described, I think all but  I.giganticaerulea was later
thrown out by the lumpers (curse their wicked hearts) and I do not think that
even variety status survives from his work.  The other three ''true''
hexagonae had been described more than 100 years previous.  A hint of the
eventual demise of his work might be found in his observation that there are
intermediate forms between the species which he described.  I believe Small
postulated that there were up to 50 iris species in the area around New
Orleans and predicted their loss to development and collecting.

I would be interested in knowing who overturned his descriptions and when;
was it done in one swoop or picked at one at a time?  I read that we
currently follow a classification system of G.H.M Lawrence.  Do you have any
background information on him?

Ironically, I.nelsonii was perhaps the only LA which Small never saw as it
originated around Abbeyville and his study was confined to the area east of

Supposedly, L.F. Randolph and Ira Nelson determined that I.nelsonii is one of
the few cases in which a natural hybrid which breeds true to form evolved
(over centuries) into a true species with different ''marker'' chromosomes.
I am speaking like a parrot here as I do not understand how having
characteristics intermediate between the two parent species makes this
natural hybrid different from any other hybrid.  Lots of hybrids breed true
to form, yet they are not given species designation.  Perhaps a geneticists
or someone who has read the work of Randolph and Nelson can shed some light
on this one.

Stephen Hopkins
South Carolina

Walter A Moores wrote:

> >
> > The members of the Series Hexagonae (Louisiana Iris) are:
> > I. hexagona
> > I.fulva
> > I.brevicaulis
> > I.giganticaerulea and
> > I.nelsonii, the natural hybrid of I.fulva and I.giganticaerulea
> >
>         Where does VINICOLOR fit in all of this?  It was once given the
> status of I.vinicolor, but its 'title was stripped' because it was
> determined to be a hybrid (like i.nelsonii).  I have never understood why
> i.nelsonii has specie status and VINICOLOR doesn't.  VINICOLOR is
> currently in bloom in my bog.  It seems to be more widely grown in old
> Southern gardens than any of the above, including fulva or foliosa
> (brevicaulis).
>         Walter Moores
>         Enid Lake, MS 7/8

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