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Re: Re: HIST: TB: Pink Opal- use of species designation

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: HIST: TB: Pink Opal- use of species designation
  • From: Robt R Pries rpries@sbcglobal.net
  • Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 09:26:11 -0800 (PST)

I probably should clarify my previous post. The
argument was being made that just because something
had been in cultivation it is no longer a species. I
reject that argument. But I do agree that with Chuck
that it is best to label some of these cultivars as
derived from pallida. True pallidas are fairly easy to
distinguish in that their bracts below the flower are
wholly dry and papery at the time of anthesis. There
have been many plants referred to as pallidas in the
old 39 checklist which were not pure pallida but
derived from pallida and usually these will have
bracts that are half green and half papery. I did not
include ‘Pink Opal’ in the SIGNA Checklist because it
was suspect and I could not trace its lineage. The
emphasis should be keeping as much information
straight as possible. But the idea that as soon as
something receives a cultivar name it is no longer a
species should not be encouraged. 
        Pallida is also somewhat problematic because it has
been split into several species at various times. At
one time Iris cengialtii was considered a separate
species, now it is considered a subspecies. Iris
ilyrica also was once called a separate species. It
seems that most plants used in historic hybrids were
Iris pallida subspecies pallida and that these other
variants played a limited role.  
        I am neither a splitter or a lumper. I am interested
in seeing as much variety given names and so I suppose
I have a fondness for the splitters. The trend today
in western botany is more towards the lumper, but
splitters have good reason to exist in Eastern Europe.
A new species creates much more interest than a new
variety so finding and support can be more easily
achieved if you are a splitter. 
        I have read Mitic et al. papers from Croatia and find
them very interesting but I doubt that most botanists
in the west will elevate their taxons to the rank of
species. Whether this is correct or not I will reserve
judgement but their work certainly points out that the
pallida gene pool is more complex than one might
        I pointed out the problem of pallida in the
discussion at the beginning of the SIGNA checklist.
How one identifies a plant as a given species depends
on who’s classification one is using. By one persons
determination a plant may be a hybrid and by anothers
a species. But again it is entirely appropriate to
apply species names to garden plants.

--- irischapman@netscape.net wrote:

> So what is the parentage of Pink Opal?  Can it be
> traced back to wild  
> species withut any other species?
> And which of the pallida series were used in its 
> parentage?
> I have been reading the recent research  on pallida
> series (published 
> in Croatia) and  may help out with the research.
> They have used very 
> sophisticated scientific methods and the papers are
> quite convincing. 
> The research suggests very strongly that the only
> collected forms of 
> pallida is the population reported by Dykes , in the
> lower Alps. All 
> the rest are one of the other pallida series,
> cengaialti, illyrica, and 
> pseudopallida as well as another unique aand
> isolated  form which may 
> be a hybrid.
> Thus  it  does present problems. Ensata doesn't have
> this problem, only 
> one species. The same with many other species , such
> as pseudacorous. 
> In addition , some of the early identified pallida,
> such as Dalmatica, 
> have some suspicions. Dalmatica was found in an
> English garden unknown 
> time since collected. It has cytologicaland
> morphological differences 
>  from wild collected species and has abnormal pollen
> which is not 
> usually seen in wild collected plants and often seen
> in hybrids. Plants 
> from this clone are also called pallida, perhaps not
> justified.
> The distinction between wild collected and other
> forms does need to be 
> made to prevent further confussion.
> I have no problem with term ensata , pseudacolor 
> versicolor etc, but 
> when we get to siberian,  spuria and ilk we need to
> recognice that 
> these are garden and not species classification. per
> say.
> Chuck Chapman
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robt R Pries <rpries@sbcglobal.net>
> To: iris-photos@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Sat, 3 Dec 2005 08:12:32 -0800 (PST)
> Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re:  HIST: TB: Pink Opal-
> use of species 
> designation
>    I believe I agree with Walter if something is a
>  pallida even if it was crossed with pallidas for
> ten
>  generations in the garden it is still a pallida.
> 5000
>  generations is something else again. At some point
> a
>  new taxonomic name is given to garden creations
>  especially if they have hybridized with other
> species.
>  But as a case in point, All japanese Iris are the
>  species iris ensata. Even though they may have been
>  selected in gardens for 200 years they are still
> Iris
>  ensata. wild populations do look very different
> than
>  the cultivated plants. One misunderstanding is that
>  wild populations often have individuals that look
> very
>  different also from the general population. It is
> just
>  that we collect these rare variants. Today man has
> sad
>  to say impacted even the wildest of habitats. Many
> of
>  us no longer view nature as being outside of
> gardens.
>  But the whole world now is a garden whether we are
>  really taking responsibility for that fact or not.
>  wildness is now a spectrum from totally man
> selected
>  to partly man influenced. Of course I would like to
>  see certain cultivars distinguished as "wild
>  collected" but there are fewer and fewer
> populations
>  that many of us would call wild. And just becuase
>  something has been grown in a garden and given a
>  cultivar name does not automatically mean it is
> less
>  wild.
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