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RE: when I like haft marks

  • Subject: RE: [iris-photos] when I like haft marks
  • From: "Donald Eaves" donald@eastland.net
  • Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 12:59:40 -0500

I received the following:

> I like your posting but I know so little about the
> Iris in this category.  Write about the strong
> suits of the Iris for us.

An AB-, or less than one half aril content arilbred.  I'm not sure if there 
are any strong suits.  Some are quite nice and some make nice garden clumps 
because they often have the habit of putting out lots of stalks to a clump. 
Often they have interesting patterns.  But they are, in my opinion, iris 
step-children.  Cinderella with no prince in sight.  I think they would 
probably have the most appeal to those who also like historic iris.  As 
blooms they don't usually carry enough aril characteristics to satisfy 
arilbred aficionados, but from their aril ancestry they lose bud count and 
branching and most of the modern curlyques of modern TBs so don't satisfy 
them either.  For me, since it's possible even if difficult, they are used 
as an intermediate step trying to work other bearded genes into the pool of 
fertile arilbreds.  Not too many new ones of the type come on the market and 
I really don't know how much effort others might be trying with them.  At 
one time they were used more, I think, to produce plants that proved to be 
fertile arilbreds.  That was several decades ago.  When I started it seemed 
there would be room to work some additional bearded iris back into the gene 
pool of the arilbreds.  It hasn't worked very well, frankly.  They are 
difficult to use in obtaining seeds.  Though I get some seeds every year, 
I've gotten almost no germination.  So the end result hasn't resulted in 
many second generation plants.  Even with a second generation plant there's 
no guarantee you've progressed.  My theory has been, though, that there 
would be a higher degree of fertility occurring in subsequent generations. 
I still have the theory if I could just get the plants.  Fertile arilbreds 
are amphi-diploids, so the genes don't work together like they do in TBs, 
e.g., but they do work together in order to produce a plant.  How they work 
together is crucial.  With all the huge gene pool available in non-arilbred 
bearded iris it still seems to me that there are likely to be some that 
would enhance what is currently available within the fertile arilbred gene 
pool.  But it can't be demonstrated without obtaining viable seeds and then 
working with the plant.  So for the AB- types, the single most important 
criteria is the ability to produce seeds, not their appearance.  Some are 
clearly more inclined to be cooperative than others, but germination remains 
a problem.

Does this help any?

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA 

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