Cultivar Identification

SunnyBorders(5A)January 2, 2014

Got this intermediate(?) plicate iris a number of years back in a local horticultural society sale.

Have tried to identify it, but have seen photographs of a number of cultivars, on-line, to which it is similar.

Can I expect to make an accurate identification in this way?

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Your picture is great but detail has been lost due to sizing for internet.
Also only you know how accurate the purple is. In person is it more violet?
So you gather as many pics as possible of candidates, remembering cameras blu/red balance varies.
Unfortunately many pics do not show the branching. Branching is genetic.
Notice on yours if there are any double-socket buds & if so which ones.
What date does it first open (this can vary year to year - temps.)
Height can vary from year to year. More info than asked for! Who knows who will read it with the same question?

You may not be able to ID positively but you can certainly rule out some. For instance:
Cee Jay, Guru & Nice N Nifty have too solid colored S. (standards)
Good Grief has pronounced F. veins
Happy Hour & Presto Chango have orng/yel B. down in throat (& other diff.)
Farside, Happy Mood, Laser Print, Second Date have too wide F. banding color
Kontiki has too narrow drooping F.
Spiked has pronounced center F. line
Whistle has too much yellow visable on back half of B.
Wild Petticoats - extra long white B.

So that leaves in my limited perusal:
Bold Print (sibling of Rare Edition)
Rare Edition (Gatty'80)
Point The Way (Roger'06) (have only seen 1 pic and S. color was off)
Rimaround (Aitken'07)

Can you rule out further? You may have a possible suspect. It would be positively verified if an iris grower near you had that iris and you took a stalk of yours for comparison of branching, etc.. Cheers.
Is that Aubretia? (sp?) Gorgeous combo.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:20PM
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Thank you Iris-gal.
I really appreciate your kind and informed attention.

We have a close-packed perennial garden, which we tend to keep well watered; apparently not great bearded iris gardening.

Those of the many irises I've previously bought, that survived more than a couple of years, tend to do so at the front of very sunny locations (likely more evaporation/ drainage), as expected.

I'm very happy when bearded irises do survive a number of years, as that above. Some of the old mainly large bearded irises that I've planted and maintained, in better iris locations in other gardens, have already survived, with division, 10/15 years.

I recognize that cameras "lie", especially when it comes to colour. For that matter my wife and I disagree on purple-blue colour identification in the expected direction (the fourth retinal colour receptor thing).

I'd call the above colour blue, not purple; maybe towards violet. The plant (in a very summer location) is the earliest blooming of the half dozen or so bearded irises, other then dwarf irises, which we currently have. I notice that 'Rare Edition' is the only one of your four for which "early" is mentioned.

I wasn't sure about the rock cress; have used so many over the years. Judging from the leaf (other pictures of the plant) it is an Aubrieta and not an Arabis. Love their colours, especially 'Whitewell Gem'.

One more question re identifying established irises: do you get the phenomenon of degeneration, over years, in the direction of parental types with these sterile cultivars? viz. the plant is no longer a cultivar which can be named?

I know, for a certainty, that this can occur with cultivars of perennials like garden phlox. For phlox, I've read that what is really happening is that seeding occurs and seedlings replace the original plant. However, I've definitely observed one phlox plant ('White Admiral') degenerate into a phlox ancestral dirty pink.

Thanking you again.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 11:43AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

You're entirely welcome. I'm going to look up the 4th retinal colour receptor!

'Rare Edition' is the one that popped in my mind when I saw your pic. I have grown it and it did bloom before the talls. Some IBs do, some later with the early talls.

Regarding the degeneration with beardeds, nope. The newly formed rhizomes are a genetic match with the mother rhizome. Asexual reproduction. That's the reason for identical branching, etc. With lack of water the branching may not attain the lengths and the flowers may be smaller, but placement remains the same. A few cultivars may be a more vibrant color with colder winters/springs. Most not.

Broken color iris, however, do have unstable genes. I don't know the specifics. Also 'space agers' with their extended beards becoming flounces or hooks, well, that may vary year to year. 'Thornbird' is an example of sometimes not producing a hook as well as being sensitive to temperatures. It's never been mis-id-ed.

Germinated seeds may produce any color (totally different from either parent). In theory a bee polinated flower could drop seed and a particularly vigorous new iris could overrun a clump and be a wimpy color (like your Phlox example). In an abandoned cemetery or abandoned farm? What more frequently happens with beardeds is their wonderful ability to produce a mature plant from a filbert-size piece of rhizome that was left behind and will be identical to the original.

Phlox languish and die here. Do they reseed in your climate? 'White Admiral' deserves its award. But dirty pink, ugh.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Thanks, Iris-gal.
Very interesting.

The colour reception thing; hope I'm not wasting your time: it's re the possible existence of tetrachromacy in some human females (two X chromosomes). There's currently growing investigation of the matter.

Several people, not just gardeners (namely, the colour coordinator at the local Benjamin Moore Paints), whom I've talked to, agree there's some difference in perception of purple versus blue along the lines of sex.

My speculation: if the additional receptor is between red and green, the ability to distinguish some purple from blue might be enhanced. Still there are simpler explanations for enhanced colour discrimination in human females versus males.

I definitely perennial garden for flower colour and love all colours. We have a lot of garden phlox, which contribute in a big way to the colour in our own small garden in July and August. They do very well in our growing conditions and the number of different cultivars together more or less colour coordinate between themselves.

I notice no seeding in the recent phlox introductions, though intensive cultivation of the flower beds and closely placed perennials which shade out weeds may be a factor.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:04AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Interesting that you can see the blue in your IB. I can't.

Almost every year we have a disappointed soul who has the first bloom on their 'blue' bearded iris and it's not, it's lavender.

I got into a disagreement here about 'Blenheim Royal' (Schrein'90). One person said it was blue and I said mine wasn't. She was convinced I had an imposter. A visit to Schreiner's site and they listed it at the time as Bishop's purple. Which still did not change this person's opinion (it is now listed as medium blue at AIS website) (isn't that strange) (no, think it's better marketing). Maybe she's one female with trichromat? But when I compared it to another lavender in my garden, there was a distinct difference. Less red pigment. Beside forget-me-nits it was pure lavender.

Thanks for the Aubrieta id. Your pic inspired me to try it (in my blues, purples, violets, bluey pink dominated bed!).

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:20AM
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Very interested in what you say, Iris_gal.

I do see blue in the above iris, especially, for instance, in the edges of the standards.

I also take steps to retain the identification of many of the perennial cultivars which I plant, though even then there's pitfalls (like mislabelled plants). Find always trying to only buy cultivars in flower helps.

Looked at images of 'Bleinheim Royal' at (general) gardening sites; quite a range of colour variation, the eight images on Dave's Garden being an example.

You wonder whether, in these cases, some plants may be misidentified; also, what is the role of different lighting conditions/ different camera quality (as you've indicated). I'm assuming different growing conditions don't have much of an effect specifically on flower colour.

Assume one's always better with flower images on a specialty site like AIS.

Think in general terms, different people may well have different perceptions of the same colour in one flower. The colour is the reflection of parts the visible light spectrum received by a person's retinas. With colours like purple (viz. there's no purple in the rainbow) their brain has to put the received different parts of the visible light spectrum together. In addition, some folk may be applying more of their attention to what they're viewing than others.

This business of especially blue versus purple seems potentially important to me for gardeners, for two reasons: (1) because blue and purple are among the most commonly used gardening colour terms and (2) because it may be a systematic (non-random) thing (viz some women versus all men, plus other women).

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:39PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I have been maniacal in photographing beardeds. Quickly discovered the angle of the digital camera made a huge difference in color accuracy. Must rely on the LCD.

So the lovely flattering shot was color inaccurate and the less appealing shot portrayed accurate colour. Compounding the problem with iris is the sometimes presence of both water soluble and oil soluble pigments in the same bloom..

One more story and I'll sign off and look forward to more of your pictures this iris season.

I could not capture the violet of 'Violet Harmony' and online pics did no better. Tried morning, noon and late. Set the red balance to high. Still wasn't right. So when it got dark, I pointed the camera in the direction and snapped. The flash added the needed red.

Since then I have seen one accurate pic but the exif or iptc data was not present to id the camera make. Cheeers.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Thanks, Iris-gal.

Can't wait for spring.

Below from one of the mixed perennial garden I've installed and maintained. I'm assuming it was the best one for larger bearded irises, having a lot of space, a lot of sun and several of the beds had wide draining sloped edges.

That property was sold, but I do have several gardens (including our own) which have bearded irises and will be back with some pictures in the growing season. With my style of perennial gardening, closely placed and routinely maintained beds, I find Siberian irises are more forgiving (better team players) than bearded, except at the very front of beds.

Thanks for the information. Will be back for more!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:47AM
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I have a purple iris I would love to know what the name is...but I didn't keep the package it came in. Dang it..

the above iris does look like one I purchased this year called "Hemstitched" though. just an idea.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:38PM
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