Friday, August 30, 2013

'Woolong' wins 2013 Founders of SIGNA Medal

By Jim Murrain

The 2013 Founders of SIGNA Medal is awarded to...
'Woolong' collected and named by James Waddick of Missouri.

Here's a full description of this beautiful Iris via the Iris Wiki:

'Woolong' (James Waddick, R. 2001). SPEC (tectorum), height 10" (25 cm), Mid bloom season. Blue violet, falls with darker spots and flecks, white signal and crest; style arms paler blue violet. Collected in wild, Woolong Valley, Sichuan, China, 1989. Iris City 2002. HM 2006, Award of Merit 2010. 

The photos are of the original collection site and taken by James Waddick.

This is Jim's third win of this prestigious medal.
For information about this award go here.
Following is a brief description of Waddick's finding of Iris tectorum 'Woolong'.

In the summer of 1988, Jim Waddick, Bob Pries and Jim Murrain all thought that some one should go to China and collect some new wild species plants to expand the gene pool. 

It fell on Jim Waddick to go in May 1989, and then the Tiananmein freedom demonstrations started. Straying to the far reaches of the country, Jim and his guides traveled to the famed Woolong Valley of Sichuan Province, best known for its Giant Panda Reserve. 

While driving the only road through this narrow valley, Jim saw some vaguely familiar (but not quite) leaves hanging over the road, and they stopped. There was a huge patch of the crested Iris tectorum, but extending 20 or 30 feet across and looking especially big and husky.

 It all seemed to be a single giant plant connected by years of spreading rhizomes. A few fans were collected and survived in cultivation. It did prove to be an especially vigorous form of this familiar iris and was then named and introduced.

Please visit  the: Species Iris Group of North America website to learn more about growing and identifying the diverse species of Iris.

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