Irises forum: Iris color names???

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Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 14, 2016 9:24 AM CST
Spanish orange? Canterbury purple ?... is there some sort reference document where one can look up the difference between opera pink and ovation pink? Driving me crazy because I have to order all my iris on line from pictures, and we all know how different a color an iris will look depending on the lighting, the camera and how long the flower has been open.
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jul 14, 2016 9:40 AM CST
There are several "color nomenclature" books, or charts out there....try googling "color chart'.... RHS has one...kind of expensive.....Ridgeways is sometimes available on Amazon (reprint), fairly cheap....there may even be a way to access them online...not sure about that .
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jul 14, 2016 9:50 AM CST
Here's Ridgeway's Probably the RHS one would be better for "newer" iris, though....Ridgeway's hasn't been the "standard " for a long time,
http://lhldigital.lindahall.org/cdm/ref/collection/color/id/...
Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 14, 2016 12:58 PM CST
[quote="crowrita1"]Here's Ridgeway's Probably the RHS one would be better for "newer" iris, though....Ridgeway's hasn't been the "standard " for a long time,
]http://lhldigital.lindahall.org/cdm/ref/collection/color/id/...

Thank you!
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
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Jul 14, 2016 1:34 PM CST

Moderator

The Iris Database handles color a couple of different ways.

The "Bloom Color Description" field is basically a copy of the hybridizer's description of an iris when it was registered with the American Iris Society. I believe AIS encourages hybridizers to use the RHS color charts when describing an iris flower, but most do not. Altogether, I've seen at least a dozen different color classification systems used by various hybridizers and many, including a number of famous hybridizers, don't use any classification system at all.

We also have a "Bloom Color Classification" field in the database, which is essentially a simplified color chart included as a search aid. For, example, if you searched the "Bloom Color Description" field for for yellow irises, you wouldn't find those irises described by hybridizers as "lemon", "mustard", or any of the other synonyms for "yellow". But, all of those lemon, mustard, etc. irises could found by searching for Yellow in the "Bloom Color Classification" field (or, more accurately, will be once the Iris Database is fully updated).
Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 14, 2016 5:25 PM CST
KentPfeiffer said:The Iris Database handles color a couple of different ways.

The "Bloom Color Description" field is basically a copy of the hybridizer's description of an iris when it was registered with the American Iris Society. I believe AIS encourages hybridizers to use the RHS color charts when describing an iris flower, but most do not. Altogether, I've seen at least a dozen different color classification systems used by various hybridizers and many, including a number of famous hybridizers, don't use any classification system at all.

We also have a "Bloom Color Classification" field in the database, which is essentially a simplified color chart included as a search aid. For, example, if you searched the "Bloom Color Description" field for for yellow irises, you wouldn't find those irises described by hybridizers as "lemon", "mustard", or any of the other synonyms for "yellow". But, all of those lemon, mustard, etc. irises could found by searching for Yellow in the "Bloom Color Classification" field (or, more accurately, will be once the Iris Database is fully updated).


Thanks, Kent though the system described above doesn't clarify the issue for me. I know that the database uses what the hybridizers write - it's their terminology that I'm looking for a color chart to match to. What I'm looking to do is differentiate opera from ovation, lemon from citruline, azure from sky and so on.

Here for example is the description for "Light My Path" the picture posted with by the vendor doesn't show any difference in t he color of the standards and falls yet it says:

(Joyce Ragle, R. 2003) 34" tall, Midseason Bloom. S. pale amaranth rose; style arms light orient pink; F. light orient pink, white in center veined orient pink, haft medium orient pink; beards shrimp red, base white, few light blue hairs at end; ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. Lauer 2004.
[Last edited by LynNY - Jul 14, 2016 5:36 PM (+)]
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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
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Jul 14, 2016 9:08 PM CST

Moderator

That's going to be a tough one. As I said, there's no real consistency between hybridizers in terms of the use of color charts. In the example you cite, 'Light My Path', the hybridizer uses "HCC" which I believe, although am not 100% sure, stands for the Horticultural Colour Chart. If so, that's a fairly archaic system published in Britain in the 1930's. Shrug!

Moreover, even if every hybridizer used the same system, you'd still have to overcome the fact that no two people see color exactly the same. For example, you say you don't see any difference in color between the standards and falls of 'Light My Path' in the vendor picture.

Assuming you are referring to this picture:

Thumb of 2016-07-15/KentPfeiffer/c41b9f

To me, the standards are not as clear a shade of pink as the falls. There's a bit of violet in them, which would be consistent with the hybridizer's description, at least as I understand the words she used.

I can say this, if you spend enough time reading hybridizer descriptions of irises and staring at the actual flowers in the garden, you'll eventually start to understand what a particular hybridizer means when he/she says "lemon" or "citruline" or whatever. That's about the best that can be achieved, I think. Smiling


Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 14, 2016 9:36 PM CST
KentPfeiffer said:That's going to be a tough one. As I said, there's no real consistency between hybridizers in terms of the use of color charts. In the example you cite, 'Light My Path', the hybridizer uses "HCC" which I believe, although am not 100% sure, stands for the Horticultural Colour Chart. If so, that's a fairly archaic system published in Britain in the 1930's. Shrug!

Moreover, even if every hybridizer used the same system, you'd still have to overcome the fact that no two people see color exactly the same. For example, you say you don't see any difference in color between the standards and falls of 'Light My Path' in the vendor picture.

Assuming you are referring to this picture:

Thumb of 2016-07-15/KentPfeiffer/c41b9f


No, actually. I do see a difference in the colors in that one. It was a picture from a vendor on ebay, which I was just using as an example. Thanks so much for you input on this, and all you do for the irises database, the 8th wonder of the world IMO :)





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
Jul 15, 2016 12:23 PM CST
Even when you use a chart (we have the royal Horticulture one) the petal colors don't match the chips. We can only say "near color number ###"
Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 15, 2016 3:07 PM CST
Some answers to this question from Keith Keppel:

He uses Dictionary of Color, by A. Maerz and M. Rea Paul, put out by McGraw Hilll, 1930 and 1950 editions, now long out of print. This does have names such as opera pink and canterbury purple. There are used copied available on line for $200 <gasp>. Well, seems expensive to me until I consider that I paid that much for 6 yards of dirt today <sigh>

Another old one that people used in the early years of catalogues, according to Keith, is Ridgway's Color Standards and Color Nomenclature, published by the author in 1912
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Jul 16, 2016 10:11 AM CST
[quote="LynNY"]Some answers to this question from Keith Keppel:

He uses Dictionary of Color, by A. Maerz and M. Rea Paul, put out by McGraw Hilll, 1930 and 1950 editions, now long out of print. This does have names such as opera pink and canterbury purple. There are used copied available on line for $200 <gasp>. Well, seems expensive to me until I consider that I paid that much for 6 yards of dirt today <

My dear, if you're paying that much, you need to call it "soil" Hilarious!
BTW, I've been paying about $48/yard.. Does that make it "designer soil"? Rolling on the floor laughing
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Lyn Gerry
Watkins Glen, NY (Zone 6a)
Keeps Horses Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Irises Permaculture Dog Lover
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LynNY
Jul 16, 2016 10:24 AM CST
Henhouse said:[quote="LynNY"]Some answers to this question from Keith Keppel:

He uses Dictionary of Color, by A. Maerz and M. Rea Paul, put out by McGraw Hilll, 1930 and 1950 editions, now long out of print. This does have names such as opera pink and canterbury purple. There are used copied available on line for $200 <gasp>. Well, seems expensive to me until I consider that I paid that much for 6 yards of dirt today <

My dear, if you're paying that much, you need to call it "soil" Hilarious!
BTW, I've been paying about $48/yard.. Does that make it "designer soil"? Rolling on the floor laughing


Hurray! designer soil it is! Actually, the soil is 30 per yard, but there is -- haha --a delivery fee
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
Jul 16, 2016 10:26 AM CST
Yep..if you're going to get it delivered, get lots!
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
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
Jul 16, 2016 6:04 PM CST
I have often wondered where Keith got his color names. They are quite descriptive.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Jul 16, 2016 7:32 PM CST
So many things I have yet to learn! Thank you all for this one! Thank You!

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