Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tall Bearded Historic Iris "QUAKER LADY"

It is my opinion, no historical Iris collection is complete without "Quaker Lady"
I like to think this iris is part of my Table Irises collection. Smaller flowers on zig-zag branching but makes up for the limited bud count per stem by being a vigorous grower that clumps up well, quickly producing multiple flower stalks in turn creating a mass bloom effect. The photo I hope captures the beauty of this classic and subtle diploid Iris.

A H Burgess and Son Iris Specialists Waikanae, Wellington N.Z. 1932 catalogue
Quaker Lady. Standards bronze, touched with lilac. Falls smooth bronzy-mauve, with a gold centre to the flower. Very attractive. Mid season 2½ ft.

From Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, 1925:
Color effect a smokey lavender, ageratum-blue, bronzed and blended bicolor. S. pale purplish vinaceous, of silky surface texture, bronzed throuout. F. mauvette to deeper ageratum-violet, bronzing at the edge and becoming yellow-olive on outer haft. Reticulations deep gold to olive brown.
The beard is fine, projecting, and yellow-orange, and the styles are cream-buff tinged at the base. The growth is vigorous, and the plant has lax, slender,deep yellow-green leaves, tinged at the base. The flowering stalks are freely produced, above medium height, well branched, and carry their numerous blooms in a fine mass. The soft, smokey lavender, blending with old gold in the fair-sized, firm-textured flowers, is very pleasing when used in mass with bright yellows. This variety is a late bloomer. Rating 84.

Lee R. Bonnewitz Catalog,Van Wert, Ohio,1928. 
This beautiful medium sized Iris has been most appropriately named, for its colors remind us of a Quaker Lady of old schools. The colors, while not striking, are very attractive, for the standards are a smoky-lavender shaded somewhat with yellow, and it's falls are blue and old gold was bronze and yellow markings. It has a splendid orange beard. When grown in front of the stately MADAME DURRAND the combination is most excellent. We recommend it on account of its beauty, its ability to multiply rapidly, and its great vigour.

AIS Checklist 1929
QUAKER LADY TB 27" M S3L,(Farr, 1909) Class VI a (1) AAA 142 (SQUALENS x pallida)RHS CLASS VI description is as follows; Varieties with standards of shot shades, that is, of any shade due to a mixture of two colours of which one is always yellow, the yellow being always evident at the base of the standards.
The subdivision of the class are according tp the predominance or otherwise of the yellow.
a. Yellow scarcely perceptible
(1) Pale blue or lavender
(2) Rose or pale pink

In New Zealand it can be purchased from Julie May at The Iris Garden Christchurch, also available in the USA from Iris City Gardens, 3 rhizomes for $15.00 which to me sounds like a very good deal. .

Clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter


  1. Thanks for sharing the "Quaker Lady" review, found it to be interesting. The cover image showing Iris looks awesome. Will buy my copy today.

  2. Hmmmm... I think you may have IDed one of the old TB iris I have here... looks just like 'Quaker Lady'. Are there any other varieties that it miguht be confused with?

  3. Hi Cherokee Hill
    Yes there is another Iris of similar colouration and the same era 'Queen of May' it is a diploid and its bloom is slightly larger it has a I.pallida bloodline but at the moment I do not have a photo of it prepared to post on the blog. Most of the posts are loaded every 8 weeks and are then published automatically at pre-loaded times.
    Quaker Lady the Iris featured was sold in Australia and was listed in Catalogues dated 1930-45 of Claremont Nurseries, Philip Montague, and Oldown Nurserys


©2008 - 2016 HERITAGE IRISES. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying or storage of this website's content is prohibited without prior written permission. Terry Johnson in association with The Iris Hunter,What Have You Productions and 15 out of 7 Design.