Species iris in Florida
There seems to be only one native species in Florida - I. hexagona, in
spite of the 90 or so others that Dr. Small named as species half a cntury
or more ago. These are all colour varients of I. hexagona and many are very
pertty too - if you can still find them now that so much of Florida has been
cut over or drained to "Imporve" it.
On one of our eaarly trips to Florida I saw a lovely 3' tall iris in full
bloom in March in front of a motel. The manager did not know what it was but
said there was lots of it in the swamps along the inland waterway on the
coast. (Indian River?) at Homestead. The motel man said were could help
ourseves if we didn't mind the rattesnakes and knee deep muck. I could put
up with the rattlers but not the muck as no rubber boots! The iris of course
was I. hexagona.
Of course many of the Louisiana species and cultivars are also suitable
and in species the two forms of I. nelsonii (red & yellow) - both solid
colours - are both very showy garden plants if you prefer the wild types.
Well grown these two rival any of the cultivars. I hardly need add stay away
from any of the dwarf or median forms as in that far south they would need a
mountain valley - a high one - and I think only a very small part of Florida
is even as high as 200' above sea level
Bruce Richardson = who is just emerging from a 14 day backlog of messages -
only 50 more to go (until I log in tonight).
Bruce Richardson (near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.