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Iris pumila

I'm quite sure that what I have is I. pumila--fits the description and
pictures in various references perfectly.  I don't have my records here at
the office, but my original plants came from SIGNA seed in the early or
mid-80s.  Some of the original clumps are still robust and blooming without
ever having been moved--about 10 years in the same spot.  I have a medium
purple form with a darker spot, and a pale yellow  with a vague spot
indication.   There was once a light blue but I think it may have died out.
They are definitely not what many non-specialty nurseries sell as "I.
pumila", namely old diploid hybrids of "suaveolens" or some such thing.
Mine are tetraploid because I have successfully crossed them with
tetraploid I. aphylla (seedlings are nothing to get very excited about; I
have some backcrosses to pumila that might bloom this spring) and with
tetraploid standard dwarfs.

I've raised two additional generations from volunteer seed on the
originals, which look like their parents.  My experience is that they are
EASILY grown from seed, generally flowering the spring after germination.

No special care.  They grow in the open, at the top of a small rock garden,
in heavy red clay largely unamended except for a light mulch of leaf mould
each spring so that the blooms don't get splashed with mud.  They get some
shade in summer from the foliage of a big clump of spurias nearby.  Never
have rebloomed.

Best wishes, Bill
William A. Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943 USA
phone (804) 223-6172
FAX (804) 223-6374

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