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CULT:Roundup iris

  • Subject: [iris-photos] CULT:Roundup iris
  • From: "David Ferguson" manzano57@msn.com
  • Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2005 09:43:21 -0700
  • Seal-send-time: Sun, 27 Mar 2005 09:43:21 -0700

Happy Easter everyone!
About four or five years ago a flower bed containing Iris at the Botanic Garden in Albuquerque got sprayed with (apparently) Roundup. Never found out for certain who the culprit was, but it killed most of the many Daylilies and Daffodils that were also in that bed, maybe a tree as well - apparently vandalism by a employee who likes to cause trouble.  Quite a mess it was.  We didn't know what was killing the plants. Looked like perhaps lack of water, and the water system had indeed been malfunctioning, but it didn't make sense, since these are tough plants), but after about a year went by, two and two finally came together, and we figured it out.  Funny, we never even considered herbicides.  The foliage of the Iris never showed any symptoms, and most of the flowers the next season were actually normal.  However, a few of the Iris made weird flowers.  One cultivar was 'Indian Chief', and the other was 'Superstition'.  The flowers looked like some sort of reversion to an ancestral form.  They were smaller, of different and more "primitive" coloration and form.  Otherwise these odd flowers were perfectly normal.
I considered them to be some sort of mutant or reversion and marked the stems.  I was sort of hoping they were, as they were very interesting.  After writing into chat groups the general consensus was Roundup poisoning (this was the first time the idea entered my mind).  I dug out the affected rhizomes and planted them elsewhere just to see what they would do.  Two years later they all flowered with normal flowers for their variety - awe shucks.
Since the incident we have a suspect (no proof), who bragged to some other people about doing the same thing elsewhere in the garden.  Now it's an ongoing saga of "it's hard to discharge a city employee".

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