April 13, 2017

Pacific Coast Iris Hybridizing Time

Spring is the time when most (not all) flowers bloom. The flowers provided hybridizers both male and female parts to cross pollinate flowers to produce plants with bigger and better flowers and better plants too.  This is at least the goal.  We grow lots of California native species. Some we cross and plenty the bees have crossed for us.  

Right now I’m spending a fair amount of time crossing pacific coast irises.  Pacific coast irises are those 13 species (not 11 but 13 from the work Kathleen Sayce has done) that will “cross” and produce fertile offspring. The outcome of this can be a bit of a crap shoot but never the less certain flower/plant traits seem to be dominate. Once the cross is done – the seeds are produced. We collect the seeds and plant them out in fall. Then we generally see the first flower in the second spring.  Yes, that’s a long wait. One of the many crosses we made this year takes a large red iris with a yellow iris that had clear blue veining.

The hope is that we get a big iris with with red color/s and dark blue veining. 

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The above iris with the blue veining is registered with the name ‘Untitled’.  Yeah, it’s name is ‘Untitled’. If you do this sort of thing it’s good to have a sense of humor. 

csxlavxcioRed 2

The red iris is one of our creations and is a very strong grower as well.

A few years ago I crossed a blue/white iris (‘Pacific Rim’) with ‘Untitled’ and got a nice reddish brown iris with the dark veining.  Might have a few of these for sale next late winter too. Haven’t named it yet. 

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That’s it. So if you see me running around the iris area with a tweezer and a sheet of paper, likely that’s what I’m doing. And……if you want to learn I can show you!

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Identification

Botanical Name

Nassella lepida

Common Name

foothill needle grass

Characteristics

Flower Color

White

Mature Size

1-1/2 tall × 1-1/2 wide

Climactic Requirements

Light

Full Sun

Water

Drought Tolerant
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