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RE: CULT: English Iris

The time of bloom, large size of the plant, much broader foliage and larger
"fuller" flowers all help to distinguish English from Dutch Irises.  Once
you see English Irises the differences become clear.  'The World of Irises'
has good pictures (and by the way, for 20 bucks you can't get a better iris
book--the very best going, despite a lack of gaudy pictures).

Add to the mix the "Spanish" Iris--these are very close to the Dutch but
are more like the original species native to Spain and North Africa.  They
are smaller-flowered than the Dutch, with even grassier foliage, and bloom
somewhat later (the Dutch iris originated from the Spanish varieties
crossed with an earlier blooming blue species).  The Dutch Iris have now
almost completely superseded the Spanish varieties, which are available
most places only in mixture, if at all.  But they're very attractive and
their later blooming habit fills a gap.

There are no yellow English irises since the yellow genes evidenly don't
occur in the parent species.  Spanish irises are predominantly yellow and
bronze, with  some blues.

Does anyone know of any current hybridizing work with bulbous irises other
than junos?

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

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