Re: HIST: POCAHONTAS, SWERTI, MADAME CHEREAU
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- Subject: Re: HIST: POCAHONTAS, SWERTI, MADAME CHEREAU
- From: Henryanner <Henryanner@aol.com>
- Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 10:36:43 -0600 (MDT)
Mary Forte asked:
<< was wondering if anyone out there knows anything about the TB POCAHONTAS.
When it bloomed in my garden this year, it looked almost identical to SWERTI.
Is it possible I have the wrong plant, or do they just look a lot alike? Of
course my SWERTI chose to take a year off, so I wasn't able to compare them
directly. Another one I'm curious about is MADAME CHEREAU. Does it always
look as much like SWERTI as the picture in Maryott's catalog does? >>
Mary, very good pictures of the genuine MME CHEREAU (Lemon, 1840) and the much
older I. SWERTII which is frequently mistaken for it are to be found on the
Now, MME CHEREAU is a refined little iris and its marking are very precise and
tidy. It has been passed down for generations as The Buttonhole Iris. Note the
continuation of the plicating around the falls. I SWERTII is less tidy in all
respects, and you will see two photos of it on the Page, one of which shows
the characteristic tucked form, and the characteristic pinch in the center of
the falls which distinguishes this iris. Observe the photograph in THE WORLD
OF IRISES proporting to be MADAME CHEREAU. I am very reliably informed that
this photo is actually I. SWERTII. See the pinch? Sense the confusion?
Now, my POCAHONTAS (Farr' 15) hasn't bloomed for me, but I'll give you this
bit out of the Farr Chronicles. The Chronicles, as I have mentioned in the
past, are compilations of primary documents assembled by the members of the
AIS Historic Iris Robin in the 'Sixties. Some are still available from HIPS in
facsimile reprint of the original typescripts. Check the HIPS site for
Farr Chronicle: POCAHONTAS IB-W8 (Farr 1915) "very large orchid type flowers
with elegantly frilled petals. S. and F. pure white, standards faintly
bordered blue." That is Farr's own description.
Now, here is where it gets fun: If one reads the other descriptions recorded
for this plant we see more than a little variation in bloom and plant habits.
The shape of the bloom varies. The height varies, although the bloom stalk
looks to be about 30", which is tall, comparatively, and the description of
the extent of the markings varies, as do terms defining the color of the
plicating. We also see various descriptions of some petal textural
interest:ruffling, frilling, and some talk of markings: feathering, fringing,
some brightly bordering and some faintly bordering She has a white beard
tipped orange and styles that match the plicating, and she is fragrant.
The bottom line, for our purposes here is that, yes, they are all of a Type
but I'd expect the two older ones to look older and bloom shorter, and I think
you will be able to distinguish between all of them at bloom time. I might add
that for some reason I had formed the impression that the markings on
POCAHONTAS might be a bit redder in tone that the others.
Commercial Source Chairman
Historic Iris Preservation Society, AIS