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RE: CULT: English Iris

I had always wondered what the difference with English and Dutch iris
was but never thought to ask.  Over the years, I have come to assume
they were the same.  Is there a physical feature that distinguishes
them?  I would assume that all yellow ones would be Dutch.

Maureen Mark
Ottawa, Canada

		-----Original Message-----
		From:	Bill Shear [SMTP:bills@tiger.hsc.edu]
		Sent:	Friday, September 05, 1997 10:33 AM
		To:	Mark, Maureen; Multiple recipients of list
		Subject:	CULT: English Iris

		Someone asked about English Iris a few days ago and I
don't recall seeing
		an answer.  I just thought about it because I have been
reviewing my slides
		from the UK this summer, where I got several very good
shots of English
		irises blooming away in late June.

		English irises grow from bulbs like Dutch irises, but
are not very closely
		related to that complex.  They are all derived from the
species Iris
		latifolia, which is native to damp meadows high in the
Pyrenees, on the
		border of Spain and France.  The name "English" stuck to
them because they
		found their way early to England and grew very well
there.  Plants in good
		culture can be 36" tall with very large flowers, almost
in the size range
		of modern Spurias or TBs.  Colors range from white
through lavender to
		violet and purple.  Most show streaks of darker color
due to virus
		infection; uninfected stocks are almost impossible to

		They seem to be ideally suited to Britain, particularly
in the north, and
		our Pacific Northwest.  They are probably hardy enough
for southern New
		England and Long Island and should be tried there.
Ditto the southern
		Appalachians, particularly North Carolina.  Plant in
fall in a spot that is
		always moist (but not soggy) and that has a richly
organic, even peaty,
		soil.  Hot summers are not to their liking.  I've tried
them here in
		Virginia once (15 years ago) without success.  The
plants came up but
		withered before blooming.  Bloom time seems to be with
the Japanese Iris or
		a little earlier, so they could be very useful.

		I'm going to try them again this year in what might be a
better spot, after
		seeing really spectacular plantings in southern
Scotland, in a garden along
		the roadside.  There were big clumps that must have been
down for years,
		and as the flowers were unstreaked, they were probably
seedlings that had
		escaped being virused.

		Bill Shear
		Department of Biology
		Hampden-Sydney College
		Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
		FAX (804)223-6374

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