Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iris Germanica



Anyone who knows me well is aware of my collection of Botanical Prints. I am extremely fond of this print, Turpin 1828 original botanical engraving Iris germanica of which I have two but as they are hand-coloured no two prints are the same.(I have cropped the large white border that surrounds this image)
The sharp stipple engravings are from the French medical reference book entitled Flore Medicale. The multi-volume publication was illustrated with images by Pierre Jean Francois Turpin and authored by F. P. Chaumeton, J. L. M. Poiret, and J. B. Chambert. This "Nouv. publication" was published in Paris in 1828-1832 by C. L. F. Panckoucke.

Turpin was a man of great botanical talent. After meeting well-known botanist and botancial artist Alexandere Poiteau while stationed in Haiti with the French army, Turpin followed a path that led him to fame: "Pierre Jean Fran├žois Turpin was possibly the greatest botanical genius of all the French botanical painters of his day." (The Art of Botanical Illustration by Wilford Blunt. Collins: 1971).

Iris germanica var. vulgaris is a recent addition to my collection and was identified with a lot of help from Milan Blazek. I think this iris to be an amazing part of Iris History which still needs to be discovered. Just how did this iris get to be growing in New Zealand? How did it get to England? was it brou
ght there by the Roman's? and just how does an iris have so many varieties when is considered by many to be sterile or not to set seeds readily?More on this in future posts.

From the Cornell University Study of Pogoniris Varieties Memoir 100 July 1926
I. germanica var. vulgaris. Common in England. Standards distinctly blue-purple, Falls a slightly redder shade. Beard almost white, yellowing at base.

As for the correct I
D: Well as Milan tells me "The most convincing description of Irises is in the Dykes monograph. He knew the right plant" And you will have to admit he is bang on the money!! As the monograph was written primarily from the botanical point of view, and with gardeners in mind I have Quoted from W.R.Dykes 'Handbook of Garden Irises' page 215, Published 1924
I.germanica. Linnaeus 1753 This is no individual variety but an abstraction from a grou
p of varieties which agree in the following characters;- Leaves of some length in winter; flower stems liable to destruction by frost before they emerge from the leaves; stems bearing a terminal head of two flowers, a lateral branch three or four inches long and between them another short head or two; spathes scarious in the upper half, green, more or less flushed purple at the base; capsules narrow, oblong, triangular in section; seeds very few,oval not flattened; standards usually a little paler than the falls and often bearing a few, straggling hairs at the haft.



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