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Re: Black List

  • Subject: Re: Black List
  • From: John I Jones <jijones@usjoneses.com>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 08:45:13 -0700

On Mar 14, 2007, at 7:39 AM, Linda Smith wrote (on iris-photos):

>  While I'm trying to figure out what zone I'm in.
>       •       I have another question:: What is the black list back in the 
> 20's 
> & 30's and what out of that black list actually turned into something 
> useful in today's reblooming industry.
>       •       Is there a list? Where can I find it?
> Linda

There were several lists.

On January 29, 1925 the AIS Board of Directors voted: "...the following 
varieties of Tall Bearded Irises are considered unworthy of further 
propagation. All members should refrain from assisting in their 
dissemination whether by purchase, by sale, by exchange, or by gift. 
Plants of these varieties are on record at the New York Test Garden. 
Upon the request of give members, the judgment of a variety may be 
reconsidered, and upon action of the directors, other varieties will be 
added to this list." That list was published in the AIS Bulletin in 

A list was also published in THE IRIS by John C Wister 1927 and in a 
pamphlet titled "American Iris Society, Discard List 1931, Bearded 
Irises" 1931. In the explanatory notes that pamphlet says: "The 
varieties of Bearded Irises marked with the sign, $ in the Alphabetical 
Iris Check List 1929 as extinct or superseded, together with numerous 
additions, are named in this list."

All three of these list differ in that later lists generally had more 
irises added.

More recently the list from the 1925 AIS Bulletin was published in Vol 
4,  Issue 2,  Fall '91 "ROOTS Journal or the Historic Iris Preservation 
Society".  I quote in part: "Frequent reference is made to THE BLACK 
LIST! (sic) In actual fact, there are two black lists in circulation. 
The best known and most frequently seen is the one published by John 
Wister in his book The Iris, 1930 pages 112-117. The official Black 
List, sanctioned by AIS appeared in the AIS Bulletin in 1925. 
Reproduced here are both Black and White lists. Of note are the 
accuracy, on the whole. of our iris ancestors' judgements (sic). Or. 
are the making of such lists self-fulfilling prophecy?" (Thanks to Rick 
Tasco and Roger Duncan for a copy of this ROOTS issue).

My copy of John C. Wister's book is dated 1927 not 1930, and I do not 
know if there were two publication dates. In it Wister says: "Iris 
literature and Iris catalogs are full of varieties many of them once 
important but which have now been superseded by newer kinds. The 
American Iris Society in 1925 adopted an official Black List of 
varieties which it felt were no longer worthy of places in our gardens. 
Opinions, of course, differ on these lists and my own while based 
primarily on the official list of the society has many changes and 
additions of my own. Gardeners who find some of their old favorites in 
this list will hesitate to discard them I have no quarrel with those 
who for some special reason continue to grow these varieties, but n 
general our gardeners will benefit by dropping them in favor of better 
varieties that cost no more."

John                | "There be dragons here"
                          |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
                          |  to indicate the edge of the known world.

List owner iris@hort.net and iris-photos@yahoogroups.com
USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay)
Fremont, California, USA
Member AIS Board of Directors
Chairman, AIS Committee for Electronic Member Services

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