Spanish iris

Eugene Zielinski
Sat, 22 Jul 2006 19:59:39 PDT
Jim McK posed a question and a statement to which he probably wasn't
expecting an answer.  But, I do have a couple of replies.

> From: "Jim McKenney" 
> Subject: [pbs] Spanish iris
> "One mass distribution catalog which offered "Spanish irises" for years
> an illustration of Iris korolkowii to depict the "Spanish irises". I often
> wondered what people who ordered those got: did they get Iris korolkowii
> (given the price, I doubt it) or did they get true Spanish irises? "

I did order the "Spanish Iris" from that mass distribution catalog.  What I
received were some "Dutch" irises, and rather inferior ones at that.  I
wasn't concerned when they failed to reappear the following year.  (This
was before I knew what an Iris korolkowii was.)

> "The last time I ordered Spanish irises I received English irises, Iris
> latifolia, (the plant long known as Iris xiphioides). Instead of the small
> bulbs of Spanish irises, I got these huge English iris bulbs. No one, to
> knowledge, has successfully grown English irises here in the middle
> states."

Is Pennsylvania a mid-Atlantic state?  About 10 years ago, I ordered a
dozen "English Irises" (from the same mass distributor, I think.)  They
bloomed the first year, and sent up only leaves the second year.  I figured
I'd never see them again, but they bloomed the third year.  By year 4, they
had spread into two foot clumps, each clump bearing about a dozen blooms. 
(In other words, they spread like a nice daffodil variety.)  The bloom
period was short, about a week, but the plants were beautiful.  I did
photograph the clumps one year.  If I can find the pictures and if they are
decent, and if I have time to digitize them, I'll get them on the wiki.
Needless to say, I did not consider taking any of the bulbs with me when I
moved to Georgia.

As for what to call the Spanish Iris group, I'm in agreement with Jim W. 
"Xiphium" is a good term, as long as it is not italicized.  It
distinguishes these irises from the reticulatas and junos.

Eugene Zielinski
Augusta, Georgia

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