(1923) Clematis-Flowered Irises by Bliss

The Garden p.214, April 28, 1923


Mr. DYKES in his notes on moisture-loving Irises, in your issue of April 7, refers to the origin of Irises of the type of the Bearded Iris Clematis in which all six petals reflex. So far as Bearded Irises are concerned, I. Krempferi has certainly nothing to do with the appearance of this type. The parentage of Clematis is Cordelia x Princess Beatrice. It was the only one of the batch of seedlings of the cross which displayed this form. Clematis is the most perfect example of this type that I have raised, but the form in varying degree of perfectness has appeared casually from many other crosses of Bearded varieties. It is probably a teratological form — a freak. I should not be inclined to agree with the learned Professor of Innsbruck that this flat form of flower is the architype of all Irises, since it is the standards that are modified from the normal form, and in assuming the position of the falls they not only take up the special colouring of the falls but also develop (more or less perfectly) a beard. That is. the transformation is from a simpler form of petal to a more highly specialised. If it was a reversion towards an ancient type, one would expect that the transformation would be, on the contrary, from a more specialised to a simpler form. Therefore it is much more likely that the Crocus or Sparaxis form of flower was the original and most primitive form of the first Iris. But these Clematis forms, furthermore, raise interesting questions in heredity, since they do not appear to transmit according to Mendelian laws and, indeed, are not constant, flowers ot quite normal form often appearing on the same plant, and even on the same spike as the Clematis forms. — A. J. Bliss.

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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