Monday, December 15, 2014

Tall Bearded Iris Color Terms

By Renee Fraser

For those of us still new to the world of irises, there is much vocabulary to master. The parts of the iris flower, the different species of irises, the parts of the plant itself, and of course, the specialized terms categorizing irises into color types. Here is a quick reference, with photographic examples, of some of the major color terms you will encounter while reading about your favorite flower.



SELF
The falls and the standards of a self are the same color. These irises really stand out in a garden setting and are wonderful companions to other plants.
'Adriatic Waves' with Allium.  Photo c. Brad Collins
'Beverly Sills' with Paludosum Daisies
'Fine Wine'



PLICATA
Plicatas have stippled, dotted or stitched edges on a white or yellow ground.  I love the white ones with the pretty picotee edging the best.   For more on plicatas, click here.
'Paprika Fonos' 
'Rare Treat'
'Spice Lord' Photo c. Margie Valenzuela


AMOENA
Amoenas have colored falls and white standards.  The most famous is probably, and justifiably, 'Wabash', pictured below.  To see another post on amoenas, click here.
'Wabash' Photo c. Mike Unser
'Venetian Queen'
'Dreaming of Rio' Photo c. Betty Jacobs


VARIEGATA
An iris with red falls and yellow standards.  My very favorite photo of this color, below, shows the cultivar 'Supreme Sultan' with its earliest progenitor, the original iris variegata. Can you believe what modern hybridizing has accomplished?
'Supreme Sultan' compared to the original species variegata!  Photo c. Chuck Chapman
'Decadence' at Schreiner's Iris Gardens. Photo c. Betty Jacobs
'Rogue Trader' Photo c. Betty Jacobs


NEGLECTA
A blue or purple-blue bitone iris with lighter standards.  Click here for more photos of neglectas.
'World Premier' Photo c.TBGDN @All Things Plants
'Northwest Progress' with Julia Child rose


GLACIATA
An iris with no purple anthocyanin pigment.  These irises often seem to glow.  The colors remind me of that wonderful "polychrome" daylily color.
'Glacier Blush' Photo c. Blue J Iris

'Snow Lion' Photo c. Jan Lauritzen
'If Not For You' Photo c. Stout Gardens at Dancingtree



LUMINATA
Another glowing iris type, the luminata, is an iris with a white or yellow base washed over with color so that it appears to glow from within.  More luminatas can be found here.
'Pretty Pansy'
'Wise Woman' Photo c. Brad Collins



BITONE...
This is an iris which has standards and falls of the same color,  but the standards are a lighter shade than the falls.
'Bayberry Candle' 
'Smoky Shadows' Photo c. Rick Tasco
AND 
REVERSE BITONE
A bitone, REVERSED!
'Missouri Mist'




BICOLOR
An iris of two colors.
'Adoree' Photo c. Betty Jacobs
'Smoke and Thunder' Photo c. Brad Collins
'Sweet Musette'




BROKEN COLOR
These flowers have splotches, blotches, and streaks in random patterns.  For more broken color irises, click here.

'Maria Tormena'
'Batik' Photo c. Andi Rivarola



EMMA COOK PATTERN
A darker ring of color around the falls of the flower is referred to as the Emma Cook Pattern, which is named after this famous ground-breaking cultivar.
'Conjuration' Photo c. Dan Holt
'Alsea' Photo c. Brad Collins
'Rare Coin' Photo c. Brad Collins

Many new and exciting color combinations and patterns are emerging in the world of iris hybridizing, so many that it's hard to figure out if they fit into an existing category or if new ones should be created.  I am partial to amoenas. Which is your favorite?






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