Monday, November 27, 2017

A Japanese Iris Cross for Beginners

By Chad Harris
Mt Pleasant Iris Farm 

Of the several different crosses over the past 38 years involving Japanese irises, Iris ensata that have stood out, I would like to share with you my most rewarding to date, ‘Night Angel’ (Aitken 1996) X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ (Bauer/Coble 1997).

Looking to the background of the two parents you will find many different patterns, selves, rims, sanded, blazed, veined, and rays. Pictured here are but a few of the lineage check out the AIS Wiki for more photos of the grandparents and great grandparents.

The cross ‘Night Angel’ X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ I have made twice now for myself. A small trial planting in 2002 with about 30 seedlings produced 15 seedlings worthy to line out to take a second look at. Of these, four were eventually selected to be introduced.

Because of the high percentage of worthwhile seedlings I remade this cross to line out several hundred more seedlings. The first that caught my eye with its maiden bloom in the seedling field was 08JE1, introduced last year as ‘Koto Harp Strings’.

Many other siblings have been lined out and also guested to the 2020 Japanese Iris Convention to be hosted in Nova Scotia, Canada. Following are a few of these 2008 seedlings that have been reselected for possible future introductions.

As you can see with the seedlings and introduced varieties from ‘Night Angel’ X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ that the pattern breakout is wide and varied.

I share this information to hopefully entice someone young and new to hybridizing to raise the tweezers and try their hand with Japanese iris, Iris ensata.


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