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CULT: I. sanguinea ???

From: Marte Halleck <MorJHalleck@worldnet.att.net>

Bill Shear wrote (5/28/98):

> I have a nice clump of sanguinea blooming now, which originally came from
> Niche Gardens in North Carolina, sold as "ruthenica" (which it obviously is
> not).  The form of this iris is different from the sanguinea of gardens.
> The falls hang straight down and the standards are perfectly erect; all
> flower parts are narrow; the style arms are strongly exserted.  The height
> is only about 10-12" and the stems are unbranched.  The bloom season is
> extended by having the stalks produced over a period of time, not all at
> once.
> Does anyone know about the sanguineas often found in old gardens--are they
> partly siberica?  Their form is much more like the hybrid siberians than
> the "species" form of my plant.  What is the extent of the involvement of
> sanguinea in hybrid garden siberians?

Bill, did you ever get any response to the above? Your original post
didn't ring my chimes, but I just found it again in the archives &
wondered. I've also got a "Siberian" iris much like you described. It
bloomed here for the 1st time in early July & I've been wondering just
what it is. Jeff Walters suggested I. sanguinea & further suggested
looking it up in McEwen's book THE SIBERIAN IRIS, a copy of which I
finally obtained.

Now I'm more confused because the flower parts were certainly narrower
on my clumps than seems true of the "real" I. sanguinea & neither the
drawing (plate 2) nor the photo (plate 10) of same in the book stongly
resembles my irises. In a general way, they seemed to have more in
common with I. typhifolia than anything but that seems unlikely as
McEwen states it was not known in the West until 1988. I got my clumps
from a seed-trading friend in Council, VA in '96 -- all he could tell me
was that they were "an old blue Siberian" that he'd been growing for a
long time.   

Here's the desciption I wrote to the List (7/1/98):

> The blooms are a rich, dark purple. The "beard" area is white with a
> smallish area of purple-on-white veining around it -- further into the
> center of the flower, (the hafts?) the color of both "beard" &
> background becomes yellow-gold. The falls hang essentially straight down
> & the standards are open but still mostly upright -- both are narrow &
> the flowers are not large but in proportion to the overall plants. The
> bloomstalk measures approximately 15" from the ground to the top of the
> flower. The leaves are thin ("grass-like"), medium green & about 12" to
> 14" in length. The clumps are growing in fairly wretched rocky soil (it
> drains well!) in a sunny location that is quite dry (except when I
> water) but that had heavy snow cover all winter long.

Note that I couldn't think of the word "signal" & that my measurements
were guesstimates -- the blooming plants were pretty comparable to your
description, including the no-branching. Most stalks had 2 flowers near
the top & the stalks were only slightly taller than the leaves. The
plants developed a lot of bee pods, which I left in place for the heck
of it -- these have now dried to the point where they essentially match
those shown in the book's Plate 3 for I. sanguinea.

Any comments welcomed & TIA.

Marte in the mtns	Zone 4/Sunset 1  Colorado -- where it's in the 40's &
cloudy today, strong indications that Fall has arrived. I'm not ready!

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