Irises forum→Secrets of the Iris Growers: Hybridizing, Culture, Philosophy ... and Time

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Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
May 2, 2020 6:42 PM CST
Since no one took me up on starting this thread—y'all iris hybridizers being such busy folk Smiling I will start the thread and perhaps plagiarize everyone by writing a book. We live in a post-expertise world, so I feel well qualified to write on a topic about which I know nothing whatsoever. Whistling

As I have plenty of time on my hands, I will kick off with the first question. Last night while combing through old threads on this forum, I came across the "Show Us Your Schreiner's Thread." I was impressed and envious as I always am of people who have lots of irises and no time on their hands. But I digress. In post #744836, Arlyn lamented the possible fact of certain Schreiner's irises no longer existing or at least no longer obtainable. The no longer obtainable part did not surprise me. But the no longer existing part surprised me a lot. Hitherto, I had assumed that breeders like Schreiner's and Cayeaux would have complete iris libraries containing every iris they had ever introduced. Do they not? And if not, why not?
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
May 2, 2020 6:54 PM CST
As any good librarian would tell you, weeding no longer interesting or out dated books is important to maintaining a good literary collection. Not every book is entitled to a for ever spot on the shelf. I understand how people who make their living selling irises must for the sake of profit, eliminate those that are not marketable, and use that space and the energy to maintain it for ones that are more marketable. Not every iris introduced is going to merit a forever spot in the gardens of the world. Those special ones that do, are going to be the classic ones that not only are interesting and beautiful, but strong enough to withstand the adversity that mother nature and man kind can dish out. So too the classic books will remain on the shelves. Smiling
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
[Last edited by tveguy3 - May 3, 2020 12:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
May 2, 2020 8:29 PM CST
People in HIPS do the best job of preserving irises. Historic Iris preservation society. Even schreiners with all their acerage must concentrate on production.
Name: Greg Hodgkinson
Hanover PA (Zone 6b)
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Misawa77
May 4, 2020 6:47 PM CST
I will add to Tom's point with this tidbit:

............and the general public who don't know or care that the iris has a specific name; they just like it because it is pretty.
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
May 8, 2020 12:42 PM CST
So ... I am curious. Which people on this forum are iris vendors and hybridizers?
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
May 8, 2020 7:49 PM CST
In the middle of a discussion with a newly minted agricultural student, I mentioned that modern irises do not come true from seed. His response was that this was an example of poor hybridizing. I said I didn't think it was, but I lacked sufficient scientific literacy to back up my response. I took my last botany course almost 40 years ago and most of what I learned didn't stick. So ... can someone explain the science to me and point me to some secondary reading on genetics. I feel embarrassed that I do not know the answers.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
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irisarian
May 8, 2020 9:16 PM CST
AIS puts out a book 'The World of Iris' which is worth reading. it is a mix of iris history & genetics. not true from seed is a strange way of putting it. It is like saying people don't all have babies which all look alike. Each seed has its own genetic mix & the traits go one from there.
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
May 8, 2020 10:02 PM CST
irisarian said:AIS puts out a book 'The World of Iris' which is worth reading. it is a mix of iris history & genetics. not true from seed is a strange way of putting it. It is like saying people don't all have babies which all look alike. Each seed has its own genetic mix & the traits go one from there.


I am just using the phrase that is used in the database.

Other kinds of plants do come true from seed: I collect seed from my zinnias, poppies, vegetables ... every year. They look just the same the following year. This is rather different from iris ... except I suppose species iris.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
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Australis
May 8, 2020 10:23 PM CST

Plants SuperMod

I always understood "not true from seed" to be a standard botanical phrase used to indicate that the offspring are not similar to the parent. Hybrids do not come true from seed; i.e. they won't necessarily look or grow like their parents. Species and strains are the only ones that do.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
May 9, 2020 6:10 AM CST
If hybrids didn't differ we would not have as much fun developing new ones. Even your zinnias etc were originally developed. The 'poor hybridizing' remark shows the person did not know what type of plant he was dealing with. Therefore I suggest a lot of reading to start with before discussion. The terms used in hybridizing can be strange to someone who has no background to start with.
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
May 9, 2020 8:11 AM CST
Lucy,

I read the piece about hybridizing on the Winterberry site. I was tired when I read it, but I got a little lost. Is there a Dummies Guide to Hybridizing and Genetics out there?
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
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evelyninthegarden
May 9, 2020 10:20 AM CST
Mary ~ There is a Dummies Guide to Botany. It is a good place to start.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
May 9, 2020 9:01 PM CST
Actually I would reread the Winterberry site when you are fresh. What did you not understand? Perhaps some of us could help.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
May 9, 2020 9:07 PM CST
Start where he tells the difference between tetrepoid & dipoid irises. Only MTBs are dipoids as a rule so you are dealing with the tets or 4 sets of chromosomes.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
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Australis
May 9, 2020 9:58 PM CST

Plants SuperMod

Tetraploids are also referred to as 4N and Diploids as 2N.

Diploids provide one set of chromosomes their offspring. Tetraploids provide two. 4Ns tend to be more substantial and the fact that they have 4 sets of chromosomes means that you can get a lot more combinations and hence variation in the offspring.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
May 10, 2020 6:21 AM CST
Good point Australis. back a few posts, I think the comment of' newly minted agriculture student' shows that he better go back to school. The veggie he is probably referring to took a lot of developing before the reached 'coming true from seed' state of affairs.
NE Oregon (Zone 7b)
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TBManOR
May 10, 2020 9:37 AM CST
crop and ornamental plant genetics was a semester of study way back when, as i was becoming a "newly minted" horticulture student many many years ago. By the end of the semester i was relatively thoroughly versed in gene ploidy, recombinant gene characteristics, genotypic and phenotypic expressions, chomosomal characteristics and mutations, basic genome mapping, basic DNA analysis, etc.

Any student who didn't know his F1's from his F2's or couldn't explain the difference between a cultivar, hybrid, or strain at the very least was regarded with condescending pity .......

For a young iris lover like myself, this opened up a world of understanding in regards to my very limited and nascent iris hybridizing attempts. My professor was moderately intrigued by my iris hybridizing interest, and although he didn't grow iris, his observations from a scientific point of view on iris characteristics was fascinating to me, and rather astute, due to the fact he basically knew nothing about iris growing or breeding.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
May 10, 2020 8:00 PM CST
MTBs are coming out with pinks which are Tet. Any pink iris is a tet. In the TBs when they appeared people thought someone had painted them, not knowing they were tetraploid. It caused a sensation when they appeared in the1940s. Smiling
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
May 11, 2020 8:26 PM CST
To go back to one of your earlier questions, my husband & I both have hybridized medians, but don't sell them. No space for one reason. A club member in MA did for awhile but they retired & Winterberry irises in VA kindly agreed to take us on. It was very good of them as they sell their own plants. They also sell for a couple other minor hybridizers.
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Keeps Goats Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Cat Lover Butterflies
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urania1
May 11, 2020 9:25 PM CST
irisarian said:MTBs are coming out with pinks which are Tet. Any pink iris is a tet. In the TBs when they appeared people thought someone had painted them, not knowing they were tetraploid. It caused a sensation when they appeared in the1940s. Smiling


Wow. I would like to know more. Smiling

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