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SPEC: Setosa (addendum)

From: Haggstroms <hagg@alaska.net>

I reread my observations on I. setosa adaptability, and feel that I
made them sound fussier than they really are. I would like to correct
that - thus an addendum.
I think setosa possess good adaptability as a species, but much
variation individually. Most (there are always oddballs) perform
excellently in their native habitat, fewer at the edges of their range,
and, at the very edge of the "envelope", one must look for special
individuals that are genetically capable of the required adaptation.
>From my understanding, this is very similar to the history of many Iris
species which  were taken out of their original habitat for use in a
different environment. I can imagine that plants uniquely adapted to an
extremely specific or severe environment turned out to have the most
problems adapting to another habitat, but I don't see much indication of
that with setosa, which seems to be adaptable (through specific
specimens) to a fairly wide range of conditions. One can only take
adaptation so far, I'm sure, before the genes start crying out for
mercy. Setosas, for whatever reason, have not been manipulated as much
as many species, and thus are probably decades or centuries behind in
this acclimatizing process.
If I were a person dabbling with setosa seed in a marginal (for them)
environment , not only would I purchase plants/seeds from as close (in
zone) a supplier as I could, but I would also be ruthlessly practical
about seedlings. Any that do not seem to be performing well, I would add
to the compost heap, as I really don't believe they will ever be
entirely satisfactory. I would only work with those that in turn work
well with you. Of course, if you end up with an absolutely gorgeous
blossom on a less than adaptable plant, all this advice should be tossed
out the window - I wouldn't get rid of the plant either!
Well, ground floor observations from a ground floor grower about a
ground floor species...
Kathy Haggstrom
Anchorage, AK
zone 3

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