Monday, September 10, 2012

Hottest New Louisiana Iris Seedlings

By Ron Killingsworth


When you take pollen from one iris and put it on another iris, you are said to be "hybridizing" an iris or "crossing" an iris.  The pollen is taken from the "pollen parent" and the pollen is placed on the "pod parent".  You might consider the pollen parent the father and the pod parent the mother.  The pod parent is the bloom that is going to be pollinated and will produce the seed pod containing the seeds of the new "cross".  There are a lot of people out there dabbing pollen on irises!  Each cross will produce seeds, if you are lucky, and the seeds, when germinated, will produce "seedlings".  Seedlings are new irises produced by your hybridizing efforts.  The Louisiana (LA) iris seed pods are harvested in about July or August in Louisiana and the seeds are potted up and marked with the identifying data of the cross.  With luck the seeds will germinate in the fall and continue to grow through the first bloom season and on through another year, finally blooming in the second year.  So it takes a couple of years to find out what your cross produced.

The new irises called seedlings are identified by a seedling number until such time as the hybridizer decides the iris is worthy of registration and eventual introduction.  Registration is accomplished through the American Iris Society.  A seedling continues to be classified as a seedling, even after it is named and registered, until it is introduced by offering it for sale and publicizing its availability through a commercial grower, or through your own garden.

Here are some lovely 2011 seedlings from  LA iris hybridizers:

Ron Betzer seedling

Peter Jackson seedling

Peter Jackson seedling

Peter Jackson seedling

Peter Jackson seedling

Pat O'Connor seedling

Pat O'Connor seedling

Rodney Barton seedling
And here are some seedling pictures from the 2012 bloom season.

Joe Musacchia seedling

Pat Norvell seedling

Pat O'Connor seedling

Heather Pryor seedling

Harry Wolford seedling

Dufrene seedling

Dufrene seedling

As you can see, Louisiana irises come in just about every color under the sun.  Now that you are all excited about making some new irises, take at look at the web site of the Society for Louisiana Irises and learn more about hybridizing irises.  Give it a try.  You might just produce the next "Dykes" award winner!

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