Historic Iris ID?

Julie5bJune 3, 2014

I have tried to find the name for this iris. I found them in the woods about a half mile from my house at an old foundation. There are 1-2 thousand of them. I just took about 15 off the path last year. 4 wheelers and dirt bikes run over them all the time so I saved them by bringing them home.

They have dark purple on the lower petals with white stripes toward the middle. The upper petals are solid lilac colored. Yellow beard. The smell is odd. It almost smells like a floral cinnamon. They are very tall but the flowers are about half the size of my other iris. The rhizomes are about half the size of my other iris as well (I believe my other iris is germanica).

They are beautiful but I haven't been able to match it up with any others I've seen online. I do believe it's historic as the old farm house was from the late 1800s.

There are at least 1000 of them at the old foundation. I also found daffodil narcissicus and snowdrops there.

I'm also wondering if there are any organizations that accept historic rhizomes.

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A view of the group. See how they are taller than my other iris. They also bloomed 1-2 weeks later than my other iris.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 9:21PM
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val1(z4 UT)

The Historic Iris Preservation Society has a website with a gallery of historic iris. You can look through those and see if you can find a match.

Here is a link that might be useful: Historic Iris Preservation Society

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Thank you, Val1! I think I found it.


Salter, 1868 England


A smokey purple diploid. Listed as obsolete by the 1939 checklist.

Comment: "It was found growing at Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. While it is listed in the AIS checklist as 'Received by Salter, 1868, extinct'. There is no description in the Checklist, and no one knows what it is supposed to look like, whether it is correct or not. It's a typical small diploid, but with a very smoky cast to the standards." - Laetitia, NJ"

It is listed as obsolete and extinct. How is that possible when I found a huge patch of them and "Laetitia, NJ" found some as well.

I'm new to gardening terms. What does it mean by obsolete?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 11:08AM
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val1(z4 UT)

Julie - I do not know very much about historical iris, so I am hoping someone else will jump in here and answer the questions you have. You could always try to contact the iris society and send them a photo or an extra rhizome.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:19PM
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aquawise(zone 4 Utah)

Looks more like Rhine Nix to me!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Aqua, I don't think it's a Rhein Nixe. They are said to have white standards and the standards of my iris are a dusty lilac purple. I know my picture doesn't show it well. I think the flash bleached out the color some. In person it looks like the one from the HIPS website of Fabian.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I recently found this German site that lists historic Iris by breeder. Look at Goos & Koenemann under German breeders, and Vilmorin and Cayeux under France. There are several that look possible.


They don't give descriptions, but I've found the site helpful in the search for one of my noids...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 3:17AM
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Julie, if you are still trying to ID this iris, please contact me. I am a member of HIPS and have Fabian growing here. If you would like to send me one of your irises I can compare it to mine ( there are a few others that it could be that I have) and I will see if I can pin down an ID for you.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:46PM
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