1852, Hybridizing Iris
Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, p355, June 3, 1852
A CORRESPONDENT says : "I hear nothing of the hybridizing of the beautiful and hardy genus Iris,
but it ought to be done extensively. The structure of the flower makes it difficult. Could you not explain, in words intelligible to very stupid people how it should be effected ?
We cannot admit that any reader of the Gardeners' Chronicle should be ranked among very stupid
people; and therefore we must decline addressing ourselves to that unfortunate class. To the intelligent part of society we say, in reply to this question that the method of proceeding is very simple as the following statement will show. Take 'the common large purple German Iris; it will be found to have three dark floral leaves which are turned downwards, and three others of a much paler colour which stand erect. Cut off all these, and a part will remain having 1, a somewhat triangular base, containing young seeds; 2, a smooth tubular neck, from which the floral leaves have been cut;
and 3, a set of three thin erect convex blades which are cloven at the upper end and firmly united at their lower. These are styles, in the state of petals. Beneath each style, and concealed within the cavity which it forms, is a stamen of the usual structure. Just below the cleft of the styles there is a transverse slit, of which the cloven part forms the upper lip, and the curved end of the concave portion forms the lower lip. If these two lips are gently opened they will be found to present a viscid surface. That surface is the stigma, and; all which the operator has to do is to brush the pollen out of one kind of iris, and to apply it to the viscid surface within the slit of some other Iris; or he may dispense with the brush and simply knock the anther against the open slit, so as to cause the pollen to fall in. We hardly need add that the stamens of the flower to be operated upon should be removed before their anthers have opened."
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at