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1910, Pallida 'Loppio' X Tectorum; Acutiloba X Korolkowi

Gardeners' Chronicle, p.399, June 18, 1910 loptec NOTES ON IRISES.


When, in June, 1908, I pollinated with pollen of Iris tectorum a flower or two of the dwarf I. pallida, which Sir Michael Foster obtained from Monte Loppio, I hardly expected to get any result, for experience has shown that among Irises it is only members of the same group that hybridize at all readily. However, I obtained a pod of sound seed, and from this seedlings were raised early in 1909. Of these, the strongest has just come into bloom for the first time, and it is obvious that the tectorum pollen has had very considerable influence.
The leaves attracted my attention from the first, for, although they are similar in shape to those of Loppio, in colour and substance they resemble those of tectorum. Of the inflorescence it is unwise to speak until the plant has had a chance of more complete development after another year or two's growth. The spathe valves are narrow, pointed and keeled, green at back and scarious at the edge, thus combining the characteristics of the two parents, the spathes of I. tectorum being green and pointed, and those of Loppio blunt and scarious. The perianth tube is short like that of I, Loppio, but of the deep violet-purple colour found in I. tectorum.

The flower itself looks at first sight like an I. tectorum of somewhat sombre colouring. The segments are all approximately equal, and the standards are spread out at the same angle as the falls. The colour is the curious dull purplish-lilac found in I. Loppio, and the mottlings always found in I. tectorum are entirely absent. Before the bud opened, my chief curiosity was to see whether the beard of Loppio or the crest of tectorum had prevailed, and I was not a little surprised to find that neither has really proved itself dominant over the other.
The white, purple-mottled crest of tectorum is there on a reduced scale, and the beard of Loppio appears in the brownish-yellow, hair-like processes, which crown the top of the crest. The verdict of Mendelism on this result would appear to be that the beard and the crest do not form a pair of Mendelian characters.
On the whole, I. tectorum, the pollen parent, has had a much more marked influence than the I. pallida seed parent. It would no doubt be interesting to go on to the next generation by self-fertilising the present plant, but, unfortunately, the anthers contain no pollen, as I also found to be the case in another inter-group hybrid, namely, I. olbiensis crossed with pollen of I. Korolkowii.


The result of this cross is a group of particularly pleasing plants. The seeds ripened in 1907 and germinated freely for an Oncocyclus in 1909. The young plants came well through last winter quite unprotected, and several have recently flowered. In habit the plants resemble small specimens of I. Korolkowii, the brown-purple colouration at the base of the leaves being present in some cases. The stem, about 12 in. high, bears a two-flowered spathe, and the flowers retain the characteristic shape of I. acutiloba, with connivent standards and almost horizontal falls. All the segments are pointed, as in acutiloba, and boldly veined with a warm shade of chocolate-brown on a white ground.
It is noteworthy that in this case the influence of the pollen-parent has been strong enough to produce a two-flowered, instead of a one-flowered, spathe, and the theory that the Oncocyclus and the Regelia groups of Irises are closely related would seem to be supported by the fact that hybrids between their members appear to be fertile. W. R. Dykes, Charterhouse, Godalming-

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

-- BobPries - 2014-11-18
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Topic revision: r4 - 16 Dec 2018, BobPries
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