Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pacific Coast Iris

Granted, this may not be the most stunning PCI ever (pictures of PCI hybrids on the net, and in my newly arrived PCI newsletter, show some of the most exquisite shapes, shades, and color combinations to be seen among flowers), but the mere fact that it survived and bloomed in the eastern USA seems to be an accomplishment. It was grown from seed from the NARGS distribution, and this one flowered at about 3 years old this past spring. PCI are reputed to be quite difficult to keep happy outside of places with similar climates to our West Coast, eg dryish not too humid summers and rather mild winters. However, the species which have contributed to the PCI hybrids are varied in terms of how much moisture and cold they will tolerate, so by growing them from seed in less hospitable climates it should be possible to create via natural selection a hardier race of these lovely iris. The plant pictured is quite dwarf, as can be seen by comparing it to its neighbors, Haplocarphya scaposa, Kniphofia hirsuta, and Baptisia arachnoides. The blue penciling on the flowers is quite attractive, and I hope some others from its seed batch (a handful of plants) will bloom this coming year. We are having a pretty rough cold spell right now, with a couple of nights in the single digits (F), so its survival will be tested yet again.

1 comment:

Brian Morley said...

I just found your blog, excellent! My brother breeds Siberians...I wonder if you could hybridize PCI with Louisianas?, they seem a bit hardier to me,I'm not sure if they are compatible or not.What lucky students you must have. Brian