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Re: please ID an unknown iris

Sharon writes...

>I have added a picture to my web page of a gorgeous iris I have in my garden
>that, unfortunately, I have no idea what it's name is.

There are VERY few iris in that color class and of that vintage (1940-1955)
that were put on the market. The only candidates that are even close:

Catherine Claar (Claar 55)
Elizabeth Noble (K. Smith 55)
Extravaganza (G. Douglas 43)
Helen Collingwood (K. Smith 49)

>It is about 36" tall, clear, bright white standard, and deep, rasberry
>purple near beards, going to a clear, grape wine colored falls.  The beards
>are a light orange.

Helen Collingwood (K. Smith 49) seems to match in nearly all respects
except for the clear, bright white standards. Helen opens as a neglecta and
fades to nearly white standards late on the second day after opening.

H.C. matches your unknown almost exactly in form and comes very close in
beard color. The style crests don't show in your photo and you didn't
mention them -- however, all four of the above iris have crests flushed
with the fall color so that wouldn't be of much help.

>From what I can see of the veining on hafts and around the beard, your
unknown and H.C. are nearly an exact match. There are two small white spots
in the veining immediately to the right of the tip of the beard in both
Helen Collingwood and your unknown. Haft veining and texture veining are
invarients and a match tends to be diagnostic.

>I want to say it came up late in my iris succession.

That should narrow the field a good bit, but... All the iris mentioned
above have something in common -- a parent. Extravaganza is a parent of two
and a grandparent of one. All four are late bloomers, Extravaganza is one
of the last iris to bloom in a planting.

All things considered I would call your unknown Helen Collingwood until
proven wrong.

The best validation is to obtain a start of Helen and grow it alongside
your puported 'Helen'. H.C. is common as dirt, an exuberant grower, tough
as nails and nearly immune to disease and pests. H.C. is one of the few
iris that will bloom in shade. All in all, a most satisfactory iris.

Best regards,

Mike,  mikelowe@tricities.net   --   http://www.tricities.net/~mikelowe/
South Central Virginia, USA

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