As a relative newcomer to iris, I tend to try to equate what I hear about iris to other systems I am more familiar with, like crops plants (lettuce, celery, corn) and roses. In most systems, plants that have been in cultivation and subjected to selection pressure over many years, often look very little like any of the species plants they were derived from. Going back to those species or related species is often a good way to bring in (or recover) traits that have been lost or are lacking.
I have a great appreciation for what Jim and Vicki Craig (and others working with species and their hybrids) have done. I have some idea of what it takes to bring in genetic material from a species and bring it into a modern variety of just about any crop or ornamental plant. It takes a person with the dedication and foresight to see the possibilities, not the limitations and roadblocks, and a heck of a lot of work and patience.
I also agree with David that size is usually not a great way to group plants, but it is often the easiest.
I believe diversity is always a good thing, at least from a genetic standpoint. If the tetraploid MTB's are indeed very different from the diploids, I am sure each will have it's following. I for one, like the tetraploid MTB's that more closely resemble the modern TB's in flower form.
Other than looking
at the bloom, or the parentage, and guessing; is there a way to tell diploids from tetraploids (short of counting chromosomes under a scope)?
Eager to learn,
From: David Ferguson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 3, 2009 11:52:46 AM
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: Misinformation
Some related thoughts, but not meant to disagree nor to agree with Vicki's
well-made points. Within the framework of current classes, this is all
What I wanted to bring up (I'm sure it's not a new subject), is
that to my eyes tetraploid MTBs should be in a class of their own, and, along
with certain other groups that are "different" or unique, I think it is time to
add and perhaps even re-define a few of the class. The diploid MTBs are SO
different, in general, from the tetraploids, that it seems they had aught to
both be recognized as classes worthy of separate distinction. Size is not
the only way to group Irises, and the classifications used by the AIS seem, in
some cases, not up to the diversity of types that now exist. Of course
there will always be individual cultivars that are never quite "right" in any
class, and I'm sure there will be (or are) cultivars that bridge the gap between
the diploid and tetraploid MTBs. The IBs are similarly diverse in
composition, but it seems that in that class at least the majority are still the
basic "somewhere between" dwarfs (since it is a "name" I spell it this way) and
TBs that tend to hover around 44 chromosomes, or lean into the tetraploid range,
and they tend to look like they belong in the same class, but there are a number
of stray diploids that look more like big MTBs, and other odd-balls.
I guess the way my mind works (I tend to think in terms of what
is related to what, and not what is the same size as what), the size
based classification tends to put many 'unlikes' together, and separates many
'likes'. It's a workable system, not to be thrown out, but it seems to
deserve a little tweaking too.
Best to all,
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 9:42
Subject: [iris-photos] Re:
Many years ago, when I was still an active iris judge, I was invited
judge at a show in Phoenix. I was a guest with one of the locals and
grew beautiful iris. Most but not all were grown in filtered shade.
had a lot of foliage trees/shrubs scattered about her yard from
other trees that flourish in that climate. Since there is an
society in the valley, one must realize that iris are grown
There is a lot of misinformation floating around among
many years ago A judge put on a training session at the
were there) and just derided our tetraploid MTB's.. Many, if
judges attending that session, believing this judge, carried on
same misinformation to training sessions that they put on in their
areas. Some judges continue these falsehoods to this day.
much later convention, we heard this same spiel at another
this well known judge is growing, selling and hybridizing
So for years our MTB's out of I. aphylla were TOUTED as undesirable,
not fit the class, and weren't worthy of awards.... all this based on
one judges early opinion expressed at the Nationals. A judge who had
never visited our garden, and I doubted ever grew one of our iris, Now
that judge is growing our iris and not only that, a member of their
family has already introduced one, a tetraploid, MTB
The truth is and
has been for many years, our tet MTB's grow and remain
in the classes and
fit the requirements totally. The petals are wider
and the form is more
like the TB's of today. They have the same genetic
background as most of
todays TB's. In fact a lot of TB's are in their
background. Yet they
totally fit the very stringent class requirements
for MTB's. They grow
well in the cooler climates but also do well in
fairly mild climates. With
filtered shade, they can and do grow well in
climates with little winter
cooling. They do not do well in the lower
South Eastern portion of the US.
Hot humid climates are not good for
most bearded iris. After all these
years, Jim is finally getting some
well deserve recognition.
in the future, don't malign the works of others to promote
projects. You may be just hurting yourself or your friends.
if an iris is introduced in say the MTB Class but is alway
has blooms that are too large....please don't give them
because they are introduced by a well known grower. No
pretty...if they are out of class they don't deserve an award.
began working with I. aphylla, his goal to miniaturize the
which class they fit over 40 years ago. He was working
for and succeeded
in producing very small iris that are fertile and
contain the same
chromosome count as the TB. This allows any variety of
color and form,
branching, bud count, ruffles and lace as well as
rebloom in well
proportioned iris that for most average 21"-25" tall.
Many fit the MTB
class, many others are IB and we have some nice BB's
and once in a while a
As Jim is no longer able to carry on with his life long program, I
picked up the 'slack', I am quite willing to work with anyone
interested to pursue expanding this project. As we are both up in age
and I am not as agile as I once was, I am cutting way back on the number
of seedlings we grow. Will Plotner of Wildwood Gardens in Molalla,
Oregon is growing and introducing our newest iris.
there are more and more irisarians that are now growing
with aphylla based iris and some are really getting