(1914) Boissieri X Tingitana by Dykes

Gardeners' Chronicle p.322, November 14, 1914



In the early days of May it was a surprise to find an Iris in flower that appeared to be a fine form of I. Boissieri. On looking up its number I found that so long ago as 1908 I crossed I. Boissieri with pollen of I. tingitana. The foliage is weak and of a pale yellowish-green, colour, which does not augur well for the constitution of the hybrid. However, five or six of the bulbs have flowered and shown little variation. The colour is an intense blue-purple, and the flowers are remarkable for their very flat outline and for the great breadth of the style branches.

The spathes are 3 inches long, keeled on both, valves and scarious only at the tip. Each contains only one flower. The tube is slender and more than an inch in length. The blade of the falls is about an inch broad and bears a central line of orange-yellow, on which, however, there is no trace of the hairs which distinguish the seed parent, I. Boissieri. The large standards are of the same shade of blue-purple as the falls and incline outwards, contrasting with the distinctly red-purple of the style branches.

My object in attempting this cross was to see whether the scanty beard of I. Boissieri would remain constant in its offspring. In this first, generation there is certainly no trace of the hairs, but I had hoped to obtain seeds from the plants and to raise eventually a second generation. The beard should then have reappeared, if, as is not impossible, the character acts as a Mendelian recessive.

The plants have, however, proved to be sterile, for not one has set any sound, seeds, though capsules were formed. This is in accordance with my experience of other hybrids between distinct species of Iris. Sterility seems to be almost, if not entirely, absolute in every case, unless the species are closely allied. For instance, numerous crosses between new Chinese members of the sibirica group, e.g., Forrestii, chrysographes, Bulleyana, have produced hybrids from which I have lately gathered abundant seed, while I. Wilsonii when crossed with the Californian I. tenax gives absolutely sterile hybrids, and another Chino-Californian cross, I. chrysographes x I. Douglasiana, gives the same disappointing result.

W. R. Dykes. Charterhouse.

For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at

-- BobPries - 2014-07-10
Topic revision: r1 - 10 Jul 2014, BobPries
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