A new comprehensive generic arrangement of the ‘Iris sensu latissimo’,clade

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:43:37 PST
I've spent some more time with this today, and except for one major objection, I'm really enjoying it.  I really like the way this displays the irises in a way which lets anyone quickly see the interrelationships. And for those of us who have been reading the iris literature for decades, it helps to see long disused names fit back into the picture. Anyone who knows the iris literature knows that most of the genus names used in this monograph are in fact names which have been used in the past - sometimes centuries ago  , sometimes during our lifetimes. So most of them are not really new.
There is a brief discussion about  the work of Dodoens, a  sixteenth-century herbalist (he died in 1587) who way back then correctly ascertained the relationships among some  of the spuria irises and Iris foetidissima , a relationship which modern botanists missed until recently. Dodoens was the author of the herbal which was translated into most European languages of the time, including at least twice into English (parts translated by Lyte in the 1570s and by Gerard at the end of that century). For me, little bits like that make the read worth the time spent with this work.  
Our old friends spuria, anguifuga, graminea and foetidissima now cohabitate as the genus Chamaeiris. Note that this is not the Iris chamaeiris of grandma's garden. 

And for when I'm feeling like an old dog who doesn't want to learn new tricks, I try to keep in mind that we can always fall back on plain old English and call them all irises (a word which is not Latin - certainly not as most of us pronounce it -  and one not governed by botanical taxonomy).
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where we proudly count among our local irid flora Gattenhofia verna. Gatten- what? Gimmie that eraser...
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