I have been very interested in the Craig's
48-chromosome *Iris aphylla* hybrids for some time,
hybrids which range from dwarfs upward toward TB type and
height. What a wealth of material! I have been very interested
in the photos posted recently by Sterling Okase and in those the Craigs publish
with their brief but rich catalog.
There have been a number of times in the history of
our modern iris that *aphylla* ancestry has entered into the development.
Each time, it seems, the heritage becomes richer by the
species' addition. I applaud the Craig's persistance and
The *aphylla* hybrids are utterly different from
the amphidiploid SDB's developed from TB X *pumila* crosses. For
one thing, the backcrosses to TB's result in a far more fertile type IB and
allows inbreeding at the IB level, a previously very difficult option.
Lynn Markham's charming selections illustrate the potential in such
There are a host of possibilities yet to be
explored, particularly in incorporating other 12-chromosome genome species such
as *timofejewii*, *astrachanica*, *albertii* and the like. Peyrard's
*timofejewii* X *variegata* seedling thrives here in mountain North Carolina, as
do Bea Warburton's Astrachanica Kalmikij, the yellow form of *Iris
reichenbachii* and Lowell Baumunk's charming PETIT LION clone of *Iris
variegata* and to a lesser extent, *pallida* LOPPIO. My attempts at
crosses using these divergent materials is made more complex by many being
diploid, a few others tetraploid such as the *aphylla* clones and Marham's
hybrids. I would be tempted to follow Martin Weber's thought
about chromosome doubling as a means of facilitating hybridization but I admit
to an excess of caution. I might not live long enough ever to see
spontaneous unreduced gametes, the only alternative, as unreduced gametes
are presumably quite rare, I believe.
A friend working at the local Experiment Station in
tomato research first called my attention to Kevin Vaughn's published paper(s)
on Oryzalin (Treflan, etc.) as an agent used in polyploidization. I can
count on help from him should I attempt such use, but due to the number of
domestic pets in the immediate neighborhood and my own reluctance to work with
radically toxic chemicals at this time prevents me from pursuing the
possibilities. So, for the time being, I plod along, tweezers in hand,
getting down on my knee-pads my daughter gave me and trying yet again for the
near impossible "takes" in such hybrids. My total so far--one selfed pod
on Petit Lion, from which I expect only minor variations on the species. I
intend to keep trying.
Neil Mogensen z 7 western
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