Was Iris collina - now Little yellow iris & more

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:11:34 PST

On Jan 29, 2013, at 1:41 PM, aaron floden wrote:

> my two cents...
> I hate forma's. Forma designations are pointless nomenclatural inflation. One only need to look at Trillum recurvatum and its various forma's, color forms of various things, etc. A teratological form does not, and should not, require a name, neither do albino's, etc. If a species does exist in two color forms in disparate parts of the range then, by all means, give it a name.
>  Iris sintensii - Italy -- if someone were to perform a phylogeographic study that shows that continental and peninsular forms were two separate clades without much divergence then a formal name would be nice. If there really is no morphological distinction, or were there no molecular differences then a cultivar name would be better. Continuing with Iris collina though is confusing when it has a proper name already.

I'm not talking about teratological differences. I'm thinking more along the lines of: Could I plant either the Italian form or the other population form here in California, basically ignore it, and it survives and grows well? If either form could do that, then I would suspect that not only are they really just the same species, but I would also expect that the molecular differences are small to negligible as well. And I wouldn't care which population I got seed from.

On the other hand the number of geophytes I've heard about that can naturally grow equally well in either a mediterranean summer-dry/winter-rainy/rarely-freezing climate OR an interior continental summer-rainy/winter-freezing climate is very small. Look at South African bulbs. There is very little overlap between Cape bulbs and those that are native to the eastern half of the country, even though there are no big physical barriers (like mountains or deserts) nor large distances between the two regions. 

So in the case of this Iris, I would suspect that there are at least a few differences, molecular as well as ability to grow in either location, or it is one of those amazing few with the ability to adapt to either, quite different, climate regimes. In the former, it really deserves a fma. or ssp. designation. In the latter case, I agree with botanists that it should subsumed. But in this case, I should be able to get seed of the species from anywhere and grow it here where I live with no problem. I would find it hard to believe that if the latter case is not the actual case (that it can grow in wildly different climates), that you wouldn't find at least some cladistically significant difference in their DNA. And that is information I would like to know about.

That's all I'm saying. And yes, I'm just a mere horticulturist.   ;-)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

More information about the pbs mailing list