Irises are the flower of the rainbow. Irisarians have names for various color classes: Many of these names have a long history with meanings that have become refined over time. You can follow the links for more information about each class.
At the time the 1939 American Iris Society Checklist was published what were called Color Shows were common. These has been largely replaced today by Varietal Shows. Color Shows were largely unworkable because there is often no agreement on what color a particular Iris should be called. The 1939 checklist provided color codes so that arguments could be settled at such shows. After these types of shows were largely abandoned the official checklist gradually eliminated the color codes. But classification of color continued and In the 1960s, and 70s J. Arthur Nelson wrote two pamphlets on Color Classification.
Describing color in a checklist has always been a challenge and various color charts have been created to aid in this description. Even then in different lighting the same individual may decide on a different color description for the same flower. Color remains one of the greatest challenges for people describing an iris. But difficulty is no excuse for not trying. Despite the fact that different people see color differently and color moniters on computers can display color differently one still appreciates the attempt and the photo that gives us something to work from, even with its imperfections.
-- Main.RPries - 2010-09-09