Irises forum: Question re Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata'

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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Nov 18, 2015 12:46 AM CST
I am something of an iris newbie, though I have grown several cultivars (badly) for some years, and even hybridized a seedling many years ago.

I have a question which definitely falls into the newbie class, and maybe someone here can answer it.

Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata' looks to be a bearded iris, from what I can tell. But from a book snippet that I found on the web, I gather that it is a diploid iris. And I thought that most garden TBs these days are tetraploids, not diploids.... which suggests that I would not be able to produce viable seed on that plant, using pollen from a TB iris in my garden.

True?

(My main interest in this plant is in the white variegated foliage, but also in the fragrance. It would be a neat plant to play around with, to see what crosses I could make... if such a thing were possible.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
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Muddymitts
Nov 18, 2015 8:54 AM CST
Hi Poly -- welcome to the Iris forums!! Welcome!

I imagine that Lucy would be the best person to respond to this question -- she'll pop in her sooner or later!!
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Nov 18, 2015 9:01 AM CST
Welcome! , Yeah, Lucy can answer that question better than I ever could ! One thing to remember is 'strange things happen", so, If you want to cross to it, or from it....go for it ! The 'odds' may not be in your favor, but , it only takes one seed to make a winner !
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Nov 18, 2015 10:36 AM CST

Moderator

You may be able to get viable seed by crossing Iris pallida with a modern tetraploid TB, but the seedlings themselves would almost certainly be infertile, so one generation is as far as you could probably go.
[Last edited by KentPfeiffer - Nov 18, 2015 10:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
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KentPfeiffer
Nov 18, 2015 10:49 AM CST

Moderator

There are at least a few tetraploid TBs that have variegated foliage and "sweet" fragrance. Whether it's the same fragrance of I. pallida, I wouldn't know, but they might be worth checking into:

Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Striptease')

Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Verdict')
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
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irisarian
Nov 18, 2015 12:05 PM CST
I agree with Kent. Hybridizers are working on the tets with variegated foliage. There are a couple available From Mid America garden. the one which you originally mentioned is a species. It's not too hardy here in New England.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
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Henhouse
Nov 18, 2015 1:11 PM CST
'Variegated Wonder' from Mid-America comes to mind as well. Kasperek carries a few variegated forms, as does Blue J.
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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
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Polymerous
Nov 19, 2015 8:52 PM CST
Hi, all, thanks for the answers.

If crossing irises is anything like crossing daylilies, then I guess "unreduced gametes" could come into play, and produce something from a cross of a diploid versus a tet. If I'm not mistaken, though, it would take a horrendous number of crosses to get even one viable seed.

Thanks, Kent, for the links on those two variegated irises. 'Striptease' looks interesting, so I will try to get that next year. I just did a search on it, and came upon the Mid America Garden link, and discovered that they introduced a variegated iris 'Leprechaun's Trick' this year.



My long term interest in a variegated iris (or anything else), is to have white variegation with a white flower, to go into my Moon Garden. Whistling (It's been interesting, the plants that have come and gone from my garden, simply because of that one area... white flowered society garlic being one (actually, two) of them.) 'Leprechaun's Trick' already fits that bill, but I wouldn't be able to resist tinkering (assuming I were willing to cough up the price). And I could try crossing 'Striptease' with something white....

Lucy, sorry to hear that I. pallida is not that hardy. It would be fine for me here in Zone 9, but not for my sister in Kansas. Glare I did figure out that the variegated plant must be a selection from the species, and if I remember what I read correctly, there is variation in flower color in the species, including white. That makes me wonder if the variegated plant was selfed, if white flowered variegated seedlings might be among the offspring.

Sherry, I did have a variegated iris from BJ Iris, 'Fantastreaks', but I managed to kill it off before I ever saw it bloom, and seemingly they don't carry that plant anymore. Shrug! (How did I kill it off? I don't know, but probably by overwatering...)

Thanks to everyone who responded. I tip my hat to you.

The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
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irisarian
Nov 19, 2015 11:01 PM CST
I. pallida is ok, but the variegated form is not. We have a Dalmatica ( which is a pallida) doing well.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Nov 19, 2015 11:18 PM CST
I've got a sweet variegated iris with a white flower called 'Striped Britches'. I'm just over the hill from you in Soquel. Be happy to share with you next year. It's about the same ht. as the pallidas with a nice clean white variegation that doesn't show in this picture.

I have a higher mortality rate w/ Blue J iris than those from other growers... Maybe they just don't like California...

I too am variegated obsessed.. I'll bet you probably have the variegated daylily that Monrovia was growing too (forget the name).

When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
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Polymerous
Nov 20, 2015 3:20 AM CST
Lucy, what is wrong with the variegated form of I. pallida? Not vigorous?

Sherry, that is a generous offer. Thank you! I have some 'Busy Being Blue' or 'Sweet Musette' to trade, if you don't have those.

I've had mortality problems with BJ iris too... also misidentification.

I may check into 'Variegated Wonder' next year (at least, I put it on my ever-growing list of "plants of interest", which I really have no room for...)

The problem with variegated daylilies is that the variegation is often (usually?) unstable. I don't know if that is true with the Monrovia daylily ('Golden Zebra'??? http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/1375/golden-zeb... ) but I think that I saw it at one of the Summerwinds, and I didn't care for the plant. (I don't like short daylilies, didn't care for the flowers, and I am also, to be honest, turned off by daylilies which are patented.)

I do have the diploid daylily 'White Stripe' which I got from Howard Hite, but the variegation there is unstable, and I have been unable to set any seed on the blooms. The plants have gone dormant for the year and the whole clump needs to be dug up, rogued, beefed up nutritionally and maybe moved to a sunnier spot; the jasmine has been trying to smother it, and the fans have gotten small and most did not bloom this year.

The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Linnea
Southern Maine, border 5b/6a (Zone 5b)
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Linneaj
Nov 20, 2015 9:35 AM CST
My variegated pallida swords are doing well in a dry, southwestern exposure in southern Maine. They did not flower. It was their first season after late summer planting.
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Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
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Muddymitts
Nov 20, 2015 10:15 AM CST
Sherry -- that's a really cool Iris! Thumbs up
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Nov 20, 2015 10:16 AM CST
Yep, that's probably the day lily I have. After I crawl out of my nice warm bed, I'll see if there's still a tag. The flowers are not quite as golden as Monrovia's picture, but the variegation has been stable for 7-8 years. I forget what the term is, but it does grow plantlets at the end of the bloom stalks quite often. And don't even get me started on Monrovia's plant stealing, I mean patenting process.

I have 'Variegated Wonder', but just got it in the ground a couple of months ago. I haven't seen a lot of growth from it yet. I've heard that it has reverted, or at least become less striped for some folks.

'Sweet Musette' was one I remember liking many years ago.

Why is the name Howard Hite familiar to me?
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Nov 20, 2015 10:51 AM CST
Just not vigorous in our area.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Nov 20, 2015 3:39 PM CST
/Off-iris-topic

The "plantlets" on the daylily bloom scapes are called proliferations. You can cut the scape above and below them, take that middle piece - with baby roots - plant it in the ground, and it will become a new plant. Just - as always - be careful to not plant the crown more than an inch below ground. (Some daylilies have this proliferation trait, some do not. Some people value this trait - MORE PLANTS! - but I think it just looks messy.)

As for daylily bloom colors, those are affected greatly by climate and soil conditions. I have noticed quite a difference in bloom color saturation in my garden, when there is a rare humid day in the bloom season (which peaks hereabouts around June 10th). The colors are so much better - glowing, almost. Also, cool nights (particularly at the beginning (early May or earlier here) and end (October-November, for rebloom) of the daylily bloom season) will adversely affect surface color formation, as well as such traits as "sharks's teeth".

Howard Hite was a daylily person with a commercial garden, which is how I got 'White Stripe' from him. I think that he introduced 'White Stripe', but that it may have originated with someone called Mullison. (The AHS registration data says "Mullison-Hite".)

/end Off-iris-topic

Thanks to all for their comments on I. pallida performance. I may still get one plant (where can I shoehorn it in? Confused with lavender flowers, not the Moon Garden) because I am curious about the "grape soda" fragrance (and if it would be possible to get a white flowered variegated seedling from it).
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Nov 20, 2015 4:26 PM CST
give hybridizing it a try. Many people would be grateful for another flower color & who know what is hiding in there.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Nov 20, 2015 8:15 PM CST
You can also plunk those proliferations in a bucket of water for a week or two, and they will grow a full set of roots -- which makes it easy to tell how deep to plant them!!
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