Was Iris collina - now Little yellow iris & more

Dennis Kramb dkramb@badbear.com
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 08:53:16 PST
Here's my two cents...

> 4. ... If the Italian form of I sintenisii known as I collina has some
> distinction, this distinction should be noted in the description and given
> a cultivar name. The name 'collina' is not acceptable. Usually cultivars
> are considered as plants with distinct flower colors, foliage, form etc.

I disagree.  The name "Iris collina" represents an entire regional
population, not just one particular clone or cultivar.  If botanists (or
tradesmen) choose to not accept it as a species, then it should be listed
as a forma (Iris sintenisii f. collina) or a subspecies (Iris sintenisii
ssp. collina) not as a cultivar.  As for me, a simple hobbyist/enthusiast,
I think "Iris collina" is perfectly acceptable.

On the other hand, for years I have quietly dismissed the notion of some
European bearded Iris species as true species.  My belief is that thousands
of years of human intervention have probably combined and domesticated the
original species into whatever we have today... as civilizations rose &
fell, so too (probably) did their gardens... hybrid stock goes feral, only
to be "discovered" as a species a few hundred years later.  My opinion,
based on no scientific study whatsoever.  :-)

Speaking of mislabeled Iris species, a decade ago "Iris sikkimensis" was a
big problem for me.

"There are many nurseries in the USA carrying a beardless iris under the
species name Iris sikkimensis. However, as a pseudoregelia, this is a
bearded species. It is unfortunate that this imposter is increasingly
common in trade. The varieties I've seen have all been Siberian irises.
Caveat emptor!!!! (D. Kramb, 02-OCT-04)"

"Iris sikkimensis was described by Dykes from a single purportedly
wild-collected specimen. Dykes plant appears to no longer be in cultivation
and no other wild specimen has ever been collected. Dykes observations
suggest a sterile hybrid between I. hookeriana and I. kemaonensis, even
though the supposed collection site was not in the range of I. hookeriana.
(Ken Walker, 20-APR-06)"

Ken's comments prompted me to give up the search for the real thing.  I
also gave up trying to convince nurseries to correct their mistake.  They
weren't interested.

Dennis in Cincinnati

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