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Gendering Iris


J. Griffin Crump writes:
> Actually, I really don't care (much) what we call the winners of our
> contests, but I am sort of intrigued by the feminization of the iris.
> How long has this been going on? A look at the 1939 Checklist reveals
> iris named ATTILA, TAMERLANE, GENGHIS KHAN and FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT,
> There is ample precedent for naming one's seedling Teddy Kennedy,
> Rush Limbaugh, Arnold Schwarzenegger or J. Edgar Hoover, although I hope
> no one will -- still, we have PINK STARLET, BEVERLEY SILLS, PRETTY IN
> PINK and FLASHY FLIRT, among a host of other very feminine monickers.
> Does this have something to do with the fact that our flower is named
> after Iris, the Greeks' GODDESS of the rainbow?

Griff,

Many of the older iris sported deeper, more subdued colors such as shades
of violet, purple, maroon, and various blends, to which masculine names may
have seemed suited. Then in the 1940's along came the tangerine-bearded
pinks and their various pastel congeners, and shortly after lacy frills
were added as well. It probably just seems discordant to most people to
christen a lacy pink iris "Attila The Hun" or "Arnold Schwarzenegger".

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4, Sunset Zone 2)
cwalters@digitalpla.net





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