Monday, October 22, 2012

Amoenas: Iris Color Terminology



By Renee Fraser


When I received my first Schreiner's Catalog in the mail about fifteen years ago, I was bewildered by all of the terminology in the iris descriptions.  What could the word "self" possibly mean in relation to an iris?  And amoena looks like a type of tidepool creature.  Plicata, although fun to say, sounds like either a musical term or a type of pasta.  As I pored over the catalog, I slowly began to learn the differences.  For those of you who are new to irises, I hope this series of short posts on iris color classes will speed up the learning process.

An AMOENA  is an iris with white standards and colored falls.  It's my very favorite color pattern, and was the first color type of iris I ever bought from a catalog.  The iris below is called 'Fashion Passion', a tall and vigorous bloomer in here in Southern California.




'Fashion Passion" Burseen, 1992



 Perhaps the most famous amoena is 'Wabash', an historic iris that is still among the most popular irises in commerce.  The falls on this iris seem to have a neon glow.  I'm still searching for a photo of this iris I saw years ago that made my eyes wide with desire.  When I find it, I'll share it with you.  For now, look at this gorgeous clump from the Delaware Valley Iris Society.  

"Wabash" Williamson, 1936   Photo by CA Moyer



A favorite of mine is 'Ringo', even though it does not like me much.
I love the white rim around the falls.

"Ringo" Shoop, 1979 Photo by Betty Jacobs


Above all other flowers, I am smitten with red amoenas.  I am still looking for one with solid red falls that will grow well for me.  Although 'Looky Loo' has sanded instead of solid falls, it comes very close to my idea of flower color perfection.

"Looky Loo"  Ernst, 2005


Something about that frothy white whipped cream on top makes me amoena crazy.  Do you have a favorite amoena?  What color would you like to see in the falls with that lovely white?




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