1924, Handbook of Garden Irises by William Rikatson Dykes

Handbook Of Garden Irises 1924 |


Some apology is perhaps needed for the production of a third book on Irises. My excuse is that of the two former volumes the earlier and smaller has long been out of print while the large monograph was written primarily from the botanical and not from the horticultural point of view. The small book did not aim at describing all the species. It was rather a rapid survey of Irises as garden plants and the fact that it was written in the space of a long week-end at the time of the Coronation of 1911 is evidence that it was never intended to be exhaustive.

The Genus Iris with its life-size, coloured illustrations of some fifty species, and full botanical descriptions of all the known species, was the result of an enquiry into the botany of Irises and of an attempt to cultivate all the available species and to raise them from seed.

The present volume is intended for gardeners, though it is hoped that the information as to the distribution of the various species, the speculations as to their affinities and the botanical details which in certain cases must be understood in order to separate closely-allied species will prove no less welcome than the hints as to their cultivation, which are the results of an experience of some twenty years.

Each section of the genus is treated as a whole in a separate chapter and the short descriptions of the individual species, which follow, must be read in conjunction with it. This method necessarity involves a certain amount of repetition but without it it would hardly be possible to deal with each section as a whole. No attempt is made to describe each species in minute detail, in all its parts or to give its exact distribution by reference to dried herbarium specimens in the various museum collections. For this information the reader is referred to the Genus Iris. It is hoped, however, that enough information is given about all the species, which are at all adequately known, to enable them to be recognized and cultivated with some chance of success.

The treatment of the innumerable garden hybrids has necessarily been more difficult and probably may seem more inadequate than that of the species. It is obviously impossible to describe every one and equally difficult to decide which are the best varieties or those most worthy of description. Moreover, any list compiled to-day will necessarily be largely out of date a few years hence.

It was no easy matter to obtain illustrations for a book of these dimensions, for scarcely any of them could be lifesize. Photographs of Irises are seldom satisfactory and the cost of coloured drawings and of their reproduction was prohibitive. In the end it was decided to use as illustrations a series of drawings in monochrome by Miss E. Kaye. In most cases these have been drawn direct from the living plant, but in a few instances, where living plants were not available at the time, she was able, by the kindness of the late Hon. N. Charles Rothschild, to use specimens from an admirable series of coloured drawings of the Irises of Europe by F. H. Round. The cases, in which Mr. Round's drawings were used, are I. aphylla, I. pallida, I. variegata, I. sibirica, I. spuria (flower stem only), I. xiphium, I. xiphioides, and I. juncea.

It might be thought that a key should have been given which would enable any one who was totally ignorant of Irises to identify any species. I have spent much time in attempting to construct such a key but have come to the conclusion that it would necessarily be so intricate as to be of little use to the beginner. I have, therefore, merely given at the end of Chapter II, page II, a key to the various sections of the genus and inserted in the general observations on each section a key to the species which compose it.

Note; to view whole book use link at top of page.



I. The parts of the Iris flower and plant .

II. The various sections of the Genus and their distribution ......

III. The geographical distribution of the various sections and species and their relative ages ....

IV. The Nepalensis Section

V. The Gynandriris Section

VI. The Reticulata Section

VII. The Juno Section

VIII. The Xiphium Section

IX. The Evansia Section

X. The Pardanthopsis Section

XI. The Apogon Section
      • The Sibirica Subsection
      • The Spuria Subsection
      • The Californian Subsection
      • The Longipetala Subsection
      • The Hexagona Subsection
      • Miscellaneous Beardless Irises
XII. The Oncocyclus Section

XIII. The Regelia Section

XIV. The Pseudoregelia Section

XV The Pogoniris Section .

XVI. Garden Bearded Irises .

XVII. A NOTE on cultivation, ON RAISING SEEDLINGS AND ON Diseases ....
A Table of times of planting and flowering
A list of Synonyms sometimes used in Gardens


-- BobPries - 2014-10-03
Topic revision: r2 - 27 Sep 2017, BobPries
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