Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Iris germanica



Pictured above flowering at home today I. germanica var. vulgaris, an historic garden variety, and is a Natural Hybrid, recorded as been cultivated in gardens for centuries.

Published 1924
I. germanica (species Linnaeus 1753)
This is no individual variety but an abstraction from a group of varieties which agree in the following characters ; Leaves of some length in winter ; flower stems liable to destruction by frost before the 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 stemmed head or two ; spathes scarious in the upper half, green more or less flushed with purple at the base ; capsules narrow, oblong, triangular in section; seeds very few, oval not flattened; standards usually a little paler than the hafts and often bearing a few straggling hairs on the haft.

The nearest approach to a wild form seems to be I.kochii Kerner (1887) a rather dwarf plant not growing to a height of much more than two feet with rich red purple flowers of particularly smooth outline, not unlike that of albicans, and without any white ground showing between the thick brownish veins at the end of the haft.
Seedlings of I. germanica are difficult to obtain and are usually dwarf, with some of the characteristics of I aphylla. It might be supposed that all the varieties of I. germanica arose by the hybridisation of I aphylla but the other parent is unknown. It would probably have to possess spathes which were, at any rate partly scarious and the habit of making new growth in the autumn which would persist through the winter
In milder climates than ours, such as that of California I. germanica is capable of almost continuous growth and perpetual flowering, for blooms appear at odd times throughout the year

Photo Credit and copyright Iris Hunter


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