Gardeners' Chronicles, page 216, November 4, 1916
NEW OR NOTEWORTHY PLANT8.
IRIS HOOGIANA (sp. nova*).
In the autumn of. 1913 I received from the firm of Van Tubergen a number of shrivelled rhizomes of an Iris which had been collected in Turkestan. The growth made in 1914 and 1915 confirmed my first impression that the Iris belonged to the Regelia section, but it was not until this summer that the first flowers appeared, and showed at once that another magnificent Iris has been added to the already long list of good garden plants that have been introduced from Turkestan. It is with considerable pleasure that I dedicate the new species to the brothers Hoog, who now, I believe, since the retirement of their uncle, Mr. C. G. Van Tubergen, junr., constitute the well-known Haarlem firm, and who, the one by his enterprise in introducing plants from foreign countries and the other by his skill as a hybridiser, have made so many valuable additions to the contents of our gardens.
Iris Hoogiana is remarkable for the fact that the flowers, unlike those of the other known members of the Regelia section, are of a uniform pale lavender set off by the brilliant orange beard of closely set hairs, which is broad along the haft but narrows to a sharp point on the blade. A beard also grows strongly up the inner side of the haft of the standards, a feature which is characteristic of the section. The exact shade of the lavender colour varies a little, I think, in individual plants, and Mr. Hoog tells me that a few of his produced pure white flowers. I noticed among my plants that the vast majority have their leaves strongly tinged with purple at the base, and this was certainly the case with all those that flowered. In some few the base of the leaves was green, and it will be no surprise if these produce white flowers.
During this recent summer I became convinced that it has been my own fault that I have had comparatively few flowers on my Regelia Irises, though the plants have increased considerably. For some years I have been, in the habit of lifting the plants in June almost immediately after the flowers had faded. I did this owing to my anxiety to get the rhizomes out of the ground before the long root fibres had thrown out those lateral growths which anchor them into the ground and which, when once disturbed, never take hold of the soil again. I had more than once been disappointed to find, when the time to replant arrived early in October, that the roots of my plants had withered to a large extent instead of remaining plump and firm, as were those on rhizomes that I received from Haarlem. This year I determined to wait longer before uprooting the plants, and was rewarded when I finally took them up in the middle of July by finding that the main root-fibres were much stouter and more mature than usual, and that the lateral rootlets had only developed in a very few cases.
The foliage of I. Hoogiana is very similar to that of I. Korolkowii and I. stolonifera. The leaves grow about 15 or 18 inches long by about 1 inch in breadth and are of a slightly glaucous green. The stem is about 20 inches in height, and bears a single head of two or three flowers. The sharply keeled green spathes are from 3 to 3 1/2 inches long by nearly 3/4 inch broad, and are slightly flushed with purple and membranous in the upper third. The pedicel is short, the ovary nearly an inch long, and the perianth tube slightly over an inch in length and striped with dark purple. The falls are 3 inches long by nearly 1 1/4 broad, the blade not being separated by any constriction from the broad, strap-shaped haft. The bright orange-yellow beard is not confined to the haft as in I. Korolkowii, but comes well on to the blade, where it ends in a sharp point. The standards are of the same uniform colour as the falls and grow gradually broader from the haft to a point near the apex. The haft is strongly bearded on the inner side. The style branches are of the same colour as the rest of the flower, the crests triangular and erect. The stigma is entire, the anthers are long, of the same colour as the filaments and the rest of the flower. The pollen is cream-coloured, and the seeds are of the usual Regelia and Oncocyclus type, namely, brown, wrinkled and pyriform with a conspicuous, large, cream-coloured aril. The capsule is long and narrow, with a tapering apex, and it dehisces below the apex as do those of the other Regelia Irises. The rhizomatous root-stock spreads rapidly by stolons which run freely in all directions, the new shoots often appearing at a distance of several inches from the parent growth. This feature is more marked in I. Hoogiana than in I. Korolkowii, but it is, I think, impossible to separate its rhizomes from those of I. stolonifera, when in a dormant condition.
My experience of three years' cultivation of this fine new species shows that it is exceptionally vigorous, even for a Regelia Iris, and it is not improbable that the comparatively pale uniform colour of its flowers will combine in hybrids to give us results more pleasing than those which have so far resulted from crosses of the Regelia species. I am alluding, of course, not to the Regelio-cyclus hybrids, which stand apart by themselves., but to the few crosses which appear to have been successful between Regelia Irises and various Pogoniris. In these the colour is always either lurid or dingy, a result which is doubtless due to the presence of the numerous colour factors which make up the beauty of such species as Korolkowii and stolonifera.
I. Hoogiana seems to be one of the very few species of Iris which can only be distinguished from its relatives by the colour of its flowers. As a general rule, colour has little value as a guide to specific rank among Irises, but in this case the absence of conspicuous veining and the uniform tone of the whole flower seem amply sufficient to separate this Iris from its nearest relatives, I. Korolkowii and I. stolonifera. W. E. Dyhcs, Charterhouse, Godalming.
* Iria Hoogiana e sectlone Kegelia Iridibua Korulkowii et atoloniferae valdc attinis sed floribua concoloriblis aut
lilaeinia aut albia nee venosia facile diatinguitur.
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