Spanish iris

Kenneth Hixson
Sun, 23 Jul 2006 02:45:04 PDT
Dear Members:
	There's always someone who can't seem to agree, and
this time it is me.
	Trying to separate "Spanish", "Dutch", and "English"
iris by species is like trying to classify tall bearded iris by the
species they originally derived from.  There has been so much
hybridization that it is simply meaningless.
	"English" iris do not occur in England, and "Dutch" iris
have probably been hybridized with all related species.  Unlike
Jim, I do not believe all hybrids are "Dutch", because all three
groups have been hybridized with all related species.
	(Incidentally, some botanists define hybridization as the
crossing of two genetically distinct plants, and even go so far
as to say that it includes crossing two plants that differ only in
one allele on one chromosome--which is very, very different than
what "gardeners" consider hybridization.)  (Using this definition,
almost all plants are hybrids, even if they are pure species--
confusing, don't you think?)

	My understanding is that the definitions were functional,
rather than genetic.
	"Spanish" iris were early, had stems too short to make
good cut flowers, and had relatively thin textured flowers which
didn't stand up well to handling.  Flowers smaller than the "Dutch"
iris.  They generally  did not force well except  in the spring.
At one time they were sold as pot plants, rather than cut flowers.
Potted plants are heavy, thus cost money to ship.  Spanish iris
are now seldom seen in florists' shops.
	"Dutch" iris force well, year round.  Stems were long
enough to cut, and flowers were of heavy enough texture to stand
handling.  They could be cut in bud, and would develop in water
and still last in flower.
	"English" iris flower a little later--a week to ten days--and
force poorly, even in the spring and hardly at all out of season.
Flowers the largest of the three groups, but that was not enough to
offset the slower forcing and reluctance to be forced out of season.
	Because the market was for cut flowers for florists, the
group that best met florists' needs were most developed, and
hybridization and selection concentrated on plants which meet
the florist specifications.  The plants currently being offered to
gardeners started their life as cut flower plants, now excess to
market needs in the florist industry.

	So, how do you classify them?  In my opinion, the species,
and then the hybrids with a short heading explaining the major
differences between the hybrid groups.

	Well, one person's opinion, chose what works for you.


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