Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Brief Guide to the Genus Neomarica

By Andi Rivarola

I had one more desire fulfilled this summer once I opened the SIGNA Newsletter. As with many plant species that have traveled far from their original environment, some gardeners believe that identifying iris neomarica is one difficult task. With approximately twenty different species within the neomarica range, one could easily give up, but after reading the article on SIGNA's Newsletter, I feel encouraged and more ready to face the task.
N. guttata
In this wonderful article, the author writes about the confusion that most of us face when trying to identify this genus originally from the rain forests of Brazil. Mr. Lindolpho Capellari Junior, in Brazil, provided a lot of the original work.

N. northiana
Scott Douglas, the author of the SIGNA article, gives a quick summary of how to identify them.   He states that "the most commonly seen species as houseplants in temperate regions or as garden plants in warmer areas are: N. northiana, N. candida, N. gracilis, and N. caerulea. The first three cause perhaps the most confusion. The only real way to positively identify specimens is, unfortunately, to dissect them in a laboratory."

The article goes on to give a few tips on how to identify them in the garden, and additionally, it discusses the yellow, blue and white blooming neomarica irises.  If you are interested in this topic, I encourage you to join SIGNA and get access to all of the wonderful articles they publish in their newsletter. 

Typical Habitat of Neomarica

Note: SIGNA (The Species Iris Group of North America, a Section of The American Iris Society) now offers a new green electronic-only membership. Instead of receiving printed publications via U.S. Mail, members will receive them by email in PDF format. Details are on their Membership page. The SIGNA Bulletin is published twice a year and is shared with all its members. It contains color photos, and fifteen to twenty articles on iris species, hybridizers, researchers and explorers. 

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