Candy Lilies Iris x norrisii - 2

Jim McKenney
Mon, 21 Dec 2009 13:21:09 PST
Thanks, Jim Waddick, for posting those links to those new candy lily

Jim mentioned the muddy colors sometimes seen in these hybrids. Such colors
are typical of hybrids which result from the cross of a parent with
anthocyanin pigments and a parent with anthoxanthin pigments. In the case of
the candy lilies, Iris dichotoma has anthocyanin pigments and the blackberry
lily parent has anthoxanthin pigments. 

This is a common phenomenon among monocots, and if you look at the early
hybrids in most cultivated monocot groups, you will find plenty of these
muddy colors. 

Jim mentioned that Iris dichotoma is always purple. I don’t think that’s
true. For one thing, didn’t Dennis just mention that he had raised a
white-flowered plant? For another, pink and white flowered forms are
mentioned in at least one early twentieth century source. And for another,
the way pigments work in plants, in particular where more than one pigment
is involved in determining flower color, there is every reason to expect at
least three basic color variants in these plants. 

For instance, most of what we think of as red flowered monocots actually
have three common flower colors: the basic, widespread mediuim red-orange,
the ananthocyanic form (typically some shade of yellow; these are sometimes
confusingly called albinos), and the ananthoxanthic form (typically a dark,
intense red). Fritillaria imperialis sows this well, as do many species of

The abundant blooms on these newer  candy lilies are impressive. Now I’m
waiting for a cross of candy lilies with one of the tall forms of Iris
wattii: that would be a sight to see. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where the snow is still a foot and a half deep everywhere it has not been
cleared away. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

More information about the pbs mailing list