Iris--TOW foliage

Kenneth Hixson
Fri, 12 Mar 2004 17:42:58 PST
Dear All:
	Not sure how far to go in a topic that seems to be wandering
away from geophytes, but forgive me, here goes.
>	Hybridizers hardly ever consider foliage characters, or all 
>season garden quality, alas.
	The Iris douglasiana (pacific coast Iris)that I grow has particularly 
nice, fairly broad, virid (vivid and lurid)green foliage, enough to be grown 
for the foliage for most of the garden season.  The tips of the leaves do
and die late in the year, but I've never bothered to cut it off.
	The bad news is, it is not overly hardy-I've lost the white form
(Canyon Snow), and a mini dwarf (I. d. Mini Ma).  Also, I. douglasiana
does vary.  The one I have was grown from seed, picked as a green seed pod
from midway on the Oregon coast.  Seed planted a couple years ago,
from near Mendocino in California, is much different, dull bluish green.
Further, all the PCNI seem to be promiscuous--I have Iris tenax, our local
species, and the clump of I. douglasiana well separated-100' or so, yet some
seedlings of I. tenax now have branched flower stems, a character 
presumably from I. douglasiana.  It's not bad to have flower stems that branch
and have more flowers, but I can't offer seed of I. tenax from my garden with
any assurance that it really is I. tenax any more.  I had a similiar
with I. chrysophylla, also native nearby, sending seed of my garden-grown
plants to seed exchanges for a few years, until I grew some for myself and 
found the seedlings flowered with blue tones--presumably hybridized with 
I. tenax.  I haven't sown much seed so am unsure if seed from I. douglasiana 
is likewise compromised.

	In the Pries summary, I. macrosiphon is noted as being fragrant.
Would that it were so.  I. macrosiphon varies--There are both blue and yellow
flowered forms, for instance.  SOME forms of I. macrosiphon are scented--
meaning if you stick your nose in them and sniff, there is a floral odor.
Most of what you get will not be scented.  Check with the person offering
this species if you expect fragrance.  There is one person hybridizing
with this species to get fragrant flowers, and some of his seedlings are
scented and larger flowered.  If anyone has Pacific Coast Iris that are 
truly fragrant, I would love to hear from them.

	PCI are generally hardy to Zone 7, Iris tenax perhaps to Z6.
Iris munzii and southern Californian forms of Iris hartwegii (australis)
are probably hardy only to Z 8.  Curiously, a cross received many years ago,
I purdyi x I. macrosiphon, seems to be much hardier--I've grown them in
unprotected containers for several years, something that would be fatal
perhaps even for I. tenax.  They are small flowered, and not overly exciting
flower colors(a sort of straw yellow, some with a pale maroon blotch), so 
only recently were F2 seedlings grown, with a wide range of colors
No guess about hardiness of the seedlings yet.
	Ken Z7 western Oregon

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