Was Iris collina - now Little yellow iris & more

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 08:07:42 PST

> Iris humilis normally refers to a pseudoregelia with yellow flowers, but
> the name has also been applied to various other Irises,

Dear Peter and all, 

	There's a number of topics here so

1. You should read Brian Mathew's article in the BIS year book called "Little Yellow Iris' or simlar. There's a number of such plants from China to E. Europe that have been confused in the literature, but seem quite distinct in life. I have seen most of these in the wild. I. mandschurica is a Pseudoregelia, I flavissima is a Psammiris, Iris arenaria is also a Psammiris and may be the western form of I flavissima. I humilis has been applied to various species from PCN to spuria to bearded. The latest BIS version calls it the same as I arenaria. 

	There is no comparison with I sintenisii. 
2, The dwarf yellow flowered spuria that is superficially similar to the true I sintenisii is probably I kerneriana. It is a very delicate spuria with clear yellow flowers. Fairly easy from seed.

3. Incidentally the true I sintensii goes totally dormant and looses all foliage in winter. I pontica with very similar flowers, but very different plant form is evergreen. This is a case where two very different plants have been confused by people unfamiliar with both - or either?

4. I don't want to start a series of rants, but I do agree with Bob Pries' position that distinct plants should be recognized, named and registered as cultivars. 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, but there is no reason that cultivars can't also be based on hardiness, vigor, drought tolerance etc. A few years ago I registered and named Iris tectorum 'Woolong' as an especially vigorous form. It has proven itself in may gardens in the US.

5. As Iain points out, all kinds of distinctions can be buried by names and the true range of variability in a species is lost. The answer is cultivar registration. Another example re I sintenisii. There are two recognized subspecies of this iris: the typical ssp sintenisii and the 'dwarf' ssp brandzae.  If you look at these as 2 ends of a line from 'tall' to 'dwarf' it is obvious that they meet somewhere in the middle and then what do you call these? If you grow one with extra fertilizer or with hold nutrients might it change form and disguise at the other?  Does it suggest that size alone is a poor parameter for scientific names?  

	Hope this is food for thought.			Enjoy.		Jim W. 

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