Bull. Amer. Iris Soc. April, 1961
Controlled Evolution of the Horned, Spooned, and Flounced Iris
LLOYD AUSTIN

IT is, perhaps, not surprising, with the startling advances in science all about us, and men's probing farther and farther into outer space, that the traditional and ancestral form of our favorite flower is at the same time undergoing a marvellous metamorphosis. With each passing year, it seems, new and entrancing floral embellishments are appearing before our scarce-believing eyes.

It is, then, the purpose of this article to explore the origin and to trace the development of these additions to the floral kingdom. Yea, verily, even to the point of explaining how the novice may quickly learn the art of controlling evolution in a backyard experiment, and thus bring forth fascinating new creations the like of which no man has ever seen.

To the irisarian, the limitless possibilities in hybridizing present no great mystery, yet he may well ponder long and deeply as to how a character, like the form of the iris flower, that has remained unchanged for countless generations, can in the short span of a few years be molded almost at will by anyone who follows the simple directions contained herein. To the uninitiated, this power that lies within one's grasp must surely seem like a magical ability to make today's flowers match the happenings in the heavens themselves—truly the iris of today's space-age—the iris with developing wings to carry them to untold heights of popular acclaim.

This, then, is a primer for the iris breeder, beginner or expert, who would like to have a hand in directing the evolution of the form of the iris flower, for surely, the accomplishments reported herein do not represent the end product in this series of gradual but continuous transformations. The power is not given to us to foresee with any certainty what new floral manifestations lie just ahead. But the experiments of the next few years will undoubtedly be the ones that will bring forth now undreamed-of decorative adornments to enhance the beauty of the iris of the future. Why not climb aboard and loin in this most adventurous of hybridizing pursuits? Here's how, in down-to-earth practical realities.

THE BEGINNING OF THE HORNED IRIS

To immediately dispel any thoughts of sorcery invoked to bring about the one original basic change from which all forms of horned iris have since evolved, let me explain at once the simple manner in which the first horned iris came about. The rudimentary beginnings of a horn first appeared among the seedlings of the late Sydney B. Mitchell, at Berkeley, California. The cause is uncertain, but most likely the first slight projection at the end of the beard represented a mutation brought about by the forces of nature, possibly radiation of some kind. And if so, these space-age iris may perhaps trace their origin right back to bombardment with radiation from interstellar space.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that it was in May, 1944, in the garden of Professor Mitchell, that I first observed this phenomenon on his ruffled plicata seedling No. M-5-38. This was two years before I issued my first iris catalog, and before I even had an iris garden. As Professor Mitchell was not interested in working with this apparent sport, he kindly allowed me to use it in my first iris hybridization experiments. I selfed it and crossed it with eight of his other plicata seedlings, none of which had any signs of horns. The resultant seeds were sowed that fall in my first iris seedbeds at Placerville, in the mountains of northern California. Thus began my initial efforts to intensify and extend the horns sufficiently to become decorative features.

Most of the seedlings from these crosses bloomed in 1946, and among them all there was only one that had the beginnings of horns. This came from one of the 37 seeds resulting from the selfing of Mitchell's No. M-5-38, which he introduced in 1945 as ADVANCE GUARD. My one horned seedling from this selfing was a lavender fancy and was given my No. 638. That same year, among the many discarded seedlings given me by Professor Mitchell, I discovered another that sometimes had a tendency to form a slight projection at the end of the beard. This was No. JS-M-176B, and I immediately crossed 9 of these flowers with pollen from my No. 638. As a result I secured six fat seedpods, and no less than 296 good, plump seeds. The seeds from the many crosses made that year were necessarily crowded into a very small seedbed, due to a shortage of land as a new iris business got under way. Some blooming took place in the seedbed, but it was not until 1951 that sufficient land became available to line out the badly crowded seedlings, and let them start to produce their individual blooming clumps. To my amazement, as the various seedlings reached blooming size during the years of 1952 to 1954, I found that the great majority had horns to some extent, varying in length from 1/16 inch up to 1 1/2 inches. From the many horned seedlings resulting from this now famous cross, 56 were numbered and tested for varying periods of time. From these came my first series of five named varieties of horned iris, with introductory years as shown, and with races indicated symbolically as will be explained below: UNICORN-H-'54; MULBERRY SNOW-HHs-'55; PLUMED DELIGHT-HHs-'55; WINGS OF FLIGHT-HHs-'57; SPOONED FANTOM-Hs-'60. This same cross also yielded two other named varieties (PLACER MAID-TH-'52 and FANCYANCY-TH-'53) which are not normally horned, but which do show projections at the ends of the beards on rare occasions, as reported to us by several of our customers. Since that time the original seven have increased to a total of 38 named varieties in the three horned races.

The symbolism that I regularly employ to reveal the exact nature of every selected horned seedling and each named horned variety is as follows:

H = Horned, with hornlike projections at the ends of the beards; Hs = Spooned, with the ends of the horns expanded into spoonlike decorative features; Hf = FLOUNCED , with the slender needlelike horns broadened throughout their length into petallike floral embellishments; T = Tall Bearded; Tg = Tangerine Bearded; L = Laced. Symbols in parentheses denote characters that are not externally visible, but that are probably present in the germ plasm. When two symbols are used, the first is the primary one and the second the minor one that occurs less frequently. Also, it should be noted that the term "horned" is used both in the narrow sense defined above, and sometimes in a broad, general way, meaning all three horned races.

Photograph by Rainbow Hybridizing Gardens
HORNED LACE (Austin). This first iris to combine prominent horns with heavily laced petal edges has standards in bright, shimmering, yellow and falls in golden cream. Beard is brilliant orange, ending in a long bearded horn.

ORIGIN OF THE SECOND SERIES OF HORNED VARIETIES

The crosses that eventually resulted in the second series of seven named horned iris were made in 1952, before any of the seedlings of the original cross had been numbered or named. Hence the seed parent of all of these is given as (JS-M-176B x 638). Various of these seedlings were pollinated with pollen from a number of the newly arrived tangerine-bearded pinks. Pollen of TWILIGHT SKY yielded both HORNED SKYLARK-H-'57 and PINK UNICORN-H-'60; pollen of CHERIE gave HORNED RUBYFALLS-H-'58; pollen of PINK FORMAL yielded HORNED ROSYRED-H-'58; FANTASY pollen brought forth HORNED ROYALTY-H-'58; and pollen of PINK TOWER resulted in HORNED AMETHYST-H-'60.

NATURE AND SCALE OF HYBRIDIZING HORNED RACES

For all of the years from 1953 to 1960 the hybridizing program with horned iris was expanded to include so many dozens of horned seedlings and nonhorned bearded varieties of many races as parents that it is not feasible, within the scope of this article, to report separately on the results of the thousands of different crosses, or the work done each year.

The largest batch of hybrid horned seeds was sowed in 1956. A few figures pertaining to that one year's sowing will help to supply a general idea of the scale of this work without going into its many ramifications. That year the total number of hand-pollinated seeds sowed and having horned iris as one or both parents was 10,790. These seeds represented 263 separate crosses involving 121 different varieties and numbered seedlings. The seeds were sowed at a wide spacing for blooming in place without transplanting. Approximately 6,000 seedlings germinated and most of these bloomed the second spring, in 1958. A great many of them showed horns to some extent, and from among them all, 90 superior horned seedlings were selected and numbered for further testing in subsequent years. Up to the end of 1960 only three had been named and introduced from this 1956 sowing, namely SPOONED PREMIERE-Hs-'60; HORNED LACE-HL-'60; and HORNED TANGERINE-HTg-'60. HORNED LACE is illustrated to show the enticing combination of horns and lace. Since then a number of others have been named and registered and are scheduled for introduction in 1961 and 1962.

RESULTS OF VARIOUS PARENTAL COMBINATIONS

My early training was as a geneticist and I directed for 15 years the destinies of the world's first tree-breeding station, the Institute of Forest Genetics, which adjoins the Rainbow Gardens. Hence I would like to be able to give consideration to the technical aspects of the breeding, such as the very numerous discards in each seedbed, as well as those saved for testing for possible later introduction. That is, I would like to be able to analyze populations and determine the frequencies of the occurrence of various characteristics. But when dealing with such large numbers, that would require a vast amount of time, and the present size of my iris business precludes detailed genetic studies and makes it necessary to focus attention on the practical and immediately usable results of the experimentation.

Since this report can summarize but a very small portion of the data on these usable results accumulated over the past 17 years, it seems best to single out for principal attention those crosses or combinations of parents that have, in the long run, been found to yield the most valuable offspring; that is, those unions of genetic factors that have resulted in the finest named varieties and the largest number of superior selected seedlings, briefly termed selections. To aid our appraisal of the many highly successful crosses, let us group them into four categories.

1. HORNED RACES x NON-HORNED RACES

As will be shown in some detail, iris in all three stages of horn development can be produced in the F1 generation by a wide variety of different crosses. Since crosses of horned with nonhorned iris may produce horned iris in the first generation, this character is dominant to some extent. The dominance is only partial, however, since the percent of the seedlings of such crosses showing some signs of horns ordinarily varies, in different crosses, from 10 percent up to perhaps 35 percent.

While mans' criteria may be used in evaluating different crosses, the most valuable would seem to be the quality of the offspring that result and the number that are well above the average in this respect. Superior selections that are named soon become known for what they are, but numbered selections that have not yet reached the stage of naming are more difficult to use as measures of the performance of their parents. Hence I regularly follow each selection number, not only with its race symbol, but also with a rating showing its general value or quality, from 1 to 50. With selections, this takes the place of the year of introduction often shown for named varieties. Most of the superior selections are rated between 5 and 20, and the higher ratings above this are reserved for those very rare instances when I find something most exceptional among my seedlings. With this as a background, we may now proceed with our evaluations of various parental combinations.

Photograph by Rainbow Hybridizing Gardens
FABULOUS FRINGES (Austin). This first spooned iris to sport fringed spoons is a blending of pure gold tints with bronzy buff.

Perhaps as many as 200 nonhorned varieties of iris have been tried here over the years in crosses with my horned iris, and of all of these the star performer has been HAPPY BIRTHDAY, a delightful tangerine-bearded pink familiar to everyone. It has been superb in these crosses when employed either as a seed parent or as a pollen parent. The present discussion deals with the latter use, and the next section will show the even more amazing and extensive results of applying pollen of various horned iris to the stigmas of HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Here are my results of using HAPPY BIRTHDAY as a pollen parent:

MULBERRY SNOW-HHs x HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg = FLOUNCED MARVEL-Hf-'61 and FLOUNCED SPOON-HsHf-'62. FLOUNCED MARVEL is the most advanced of all of my new FLOUNCED iris.

SPOONED PREMIERE-Hs x HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg 074-Hs-10.

J-31-0-H x HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg = 8182-Hs-7 and 8149-H-5.

The seedling numbers given above, and others that will follow, will be better understood if I explain that the first digit comes from the year. Thus the two selection numbers starting with "8" are 1958 selections, while 074 is a 1960 selection, arid hence has as yet had no chance for further testing and subsequent evaluations.

In the above listing of parentages, the most noteworthy fact is that, by using HAPPY BIRTHDAY pollen, I was able to secure a wonderful FLOUNCED iris (FLOUNCED MARVEL) from MULBERRY SNOW which normally has only horns, though sometimes small spoons, but never flounces. This same cross also produced FLOUNCED SPOON, which varies from spooned to FLOUNCED .

Now, in continuing with the listing of the results that I have secured from crossing horned iris with nonhorned ones, I will list all of the remaining such crosses that have yielded one or more seedlings worthy of naming.

HORNED SKYLARK-H x RUFFLED APACHE-L = HORNED LACE-HL-'60; SIERRA SUNSET-TH-'62; 067-T (HL)-10; 088-H-12; 089-T(H)-10.

PLUMED DELIGHT-HHs x PATHFINDER-T = FLOUNCED PREMIERE-Hf-'61; 8169-Hs-7; 8181-Hs-7.

UNICORN-H x ALl BABA-T = FRINGED SPOON-Hs-'61; 8176-H-10; 8191-T (H) -7.

UNICORN-H x PALOMINO-Tg = JACK HORNER-Hs-'62.

2. NONHORNED RACES x HORNED RACES

It is in this category that HAPPY BIRTHDAY makes its greatest showing, as will be seen from the following listing of eight named varieties and 10 superior selections that have descended from HAPPY BIRTHDAY as a seed parent.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x HORNED PAPA-H-'61 = FABULOUS FRINGES-HsHf-61—see photograph; SPOON OF GOLD-Hs-'61; LEMON SPOON-Hs-'61; GOLDEN UNICORN-H-'62; HORNED TANGERINE-HTg-'60.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x UNICORN-H = FLOUNCED LOVELINESS-Hf-'61; PINK SPOON-Hs-'62; FLYING REPEATER-Hf-'62.

1960 selections in FLOUNCED iris, in luscious pink.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x MULBERRY SNOW-HHs = 82-7-Hf-20.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x HORNED LACE-HL 020-H-15; 021-H-15; 075-H-15.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x FLOUNCED LOVELINESS-Hf 028-H-10; 077-Hs-15.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x SPOON OF GOLD-Hs = 066-T(Hs)-10; 072-Hs-10.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Tg x HORNED ROSYRED-H = 063-Hs-10.

These results with HAPPY BIRTHDAY, coupled with those from using HAPPY BIRTHDAY pollen, lead to the speculation that this variety may well have some genetic factors for flounces and spoons that often become evident when it is crossed with horned varieties.

Space will not permit listing all of the crosses in this important category that have yielded named progeny or superior selections, so I will merely list the tall bearded and tangerine-bearded varieties that have proved most valuable when crossed with pollen from various horned iris: ALI BABA, ARGUS PHEASANT, CHAMOIS, FANCY FEATHER, MAYTIME, PACEMAKER, PALOMINO, PINK FORMAL, PLACERITA, STRATHMORE, and ZANTHA.

3. HORNED RACES x HORNED RACES—Listing limited to crosses yielding named offspring.

PLUMED DELIGHT-HHs x HORNED ROSYRED-H = DOUBLE HORN-H-'61; HORNED COLOR GEM-H-'62; HORNED TRACERY-H-'62 and 12 other horned and spooned selections.

PLUMED DELIGHT-HHs x PINK UNICORN-H = SPOONED DELIGHT-Hs-'61.

J-910 x HORNED ROSYRED = SPOONED PREMIERE-Hs-'60. HORNED SKYLARK-H x JS-84 = WHITE UNICORN-H-'62.

4. HORNED RACES SELFED

Photograph by Rainbow Hybridizing Gardens
FLOUNCED MARVEL (Austin). The standards are in opalescent pink and the falls and flounces in deep, rich crimson. The most advanced stage in the controlled evolution reported in this article.

Although quite a little selfing of horned iris has been done through the years, no named varieties have resulted from this type of pollinating, and only three numbered selections have been produced. The only one of real value was my original cross of M-5-38 (or ADVANCED GUARD) x Self, which is back of everything here reported. As with all organisms, selfing (or even close intercrossing) may, in some instances, lead to an intensification of weaknesses, as well as good points. This probably accounts for the occasional appearance of stunted and abnormal forms from such breeding.

EVALUATION OF THE CAPABILITIES OF 38 HORNED IRIS IN PRODUCING HORNED, SPOONED, AND FLOUNCED IRIS

It appears to me that what ambitious hybridizers embarking in this field need most to guide their future efforts is a full and careful analysis of just which seed and pollen parents have been yielding the most significant results tip to the present time. Surely no phase of hybridizing is as vital as selecting the proper parents.

With this need in mind, I present the table that follows. In it I have endeavored to incorporate most of the vital facts that breeders will need. The most valuable data pertain to the actual yield, over the past 17 years, in named and numbered selected offspring of each of the three horned races. The chromosome number is given wherever available, and this includes most of the 1960 and 1961 introductions, as well as earlier varieties.

The table also includes two very helpful columns giving, wherever available, my ratings of the ability to set seed and of the abundance of pollen. These are both rated in a scale of 0 to 10. The ratings are not absolute values since they represent averages to date of somewhat variable responses under different conditions. Such ratings are sufficiently constant, however, to be of inestimable value to anyone planning a hybridizing program involving these varieties. It shows immediately where heavy seed sets can be expected and which varieties are likely to have fertile pollen. In the case of the newer varieties allowance should be made for the fact that they have not been in existence long enough to accumulate fully representative average data. Any rating of 5 or higher indicates that quite satisfactory results are probable, and the higher the ratings of the parents the more pods and seeds you are likely to get. Even though varieties with low ratings are likely to set fewer seeds, they should not be entirely overlooked as parents since oftentimes such kinds possess needed virtues not found in other varieties.

The clever hybridizer soon learns to use each variety principally in the way that he knows will give the heaviest set of seed. For example, FLOUNCED PREMIERE is shown in the table to be an extremely heavy seed setter but produces very little pollen. HORNED PAPA, on the other hand, has already become famous, even before its introduction, as a phenomenal pollen parent of horned, spooned, and even FLOUNCED iris, and is much less valuable as a seed parent. PLUMED DELIGHT produces no pollen, but as a seed parent it has already yielded 27 superior named and numbered selections. Various other varieties, such as FABULOUS FRINGES, SPOON OF GOLD, FLOUNCED LOVELINESS and FLOUNCED MARVEL, are shown to be excellent parents used either way.

Many useful facts can be ferreted out by a study of the summary table. For example, the interest of most hybridizers centers first in determining which of the horned iris have led to the production of the flounced selections (both named and numbered), as this race represents the very latest stage in the evolution of iris form. It will be seen that the following varieties, where used as seed parents, have given rise to FLOUNCED iris selections in the quantities indicated: GOLDEN UNICORN 1, MULBERRY SNOW 2, PLUMED DELIGHT 1, UNICORN 1, FABULOUS FRINGES; 3, SPOON OF GOLD 4, and FLOUNCED MARVEL 1. As pollen parents, the following have yielded superior selected FLOUNCED descendants: MULBERRY SNOW 2, RED UNICORN 1, UNICORN 2, LEMON SPOON 6, and FLOUNCED MARVEL 2. The yield of the four FLOUNCED varieties in the table will probably be very much higher in a few years when the data become available from the results of the extensive cross pollinations carried out in 1959 and 1960. The latest seed sowing that has reached the blooming stage is that of 1958, so the above tabulations necessarily cover only the results through the 1958 sowing.

Some breeders will wish to work especially for new spooned iris, and it will be quickly seen that these have come from a much wider array of seed and pollen parents than have the newer FLOUNCED iris. And crosses of any of the 38 varieties in the table with almost any tall bearded iris are likely to yield variable proportions of seedlings exhibiting horns in some form.

Fertility and Descendants of Flounced, Spooned, and Horned Iris Varieties

Number of Selections
when used as
SEED PARENT
Seed
Setting
Rating
Varieties, race, and
year of introduction
Chromo-
some
Numbers
Average
Pollen
Rating
Number of Selections
when used as
POLLEN PARENT
Named Numbered Named Numbered
H Hs Hf H Hs Hf H Hs Hf H Hs Hf
25 HORNED VARIETIES
              Double Horn-H-'61 48 3            
            8 Fancyancy-TH-'53   8            
        1 1 5 Golden Unicorn-H-'62   9            
      1 2   8 Horned Amethyst-H-'60   5            
              Horned Color Gem-H-'62   5            
      1     9 Horned Lace-HL-'60 50 8       5    
            9 Horned Mystery-H-'61 48 9            
            4 Horned Papa-H-'61   9 2 3   1    
        1   6 Horned Rosyred-H-'58   9 3 1   5 11  
              Horned Royalty-H-'58 ±46 10       1 1  
            10 Horned Rubyfalls-H-'58   9            
3     1     10 Horned Skylark-H-'57 48 0            
              Horned Tangerine-H-'60   9            
              Horned Tracery-H-'62   0            
              Horned Twotone-H-'58 54 9            
              Jack Horner-HHs-'62   8            
  1 1 1 3 1 8 Mulberry Snow-HHs-'55   8 2     4   2
            7 Pink Unicorn-H-'60   9   1        
3 1 1 10 12   10 Plumed Delight-HHs-'55   0            
            7 Placer Maid-TH-'52   9            
            6 Red Unicorn-H-'62   8            
            10 Sierra Sunset-TH-'62   7            
1 1   4 2 1 8 Unicorn-H-'54 48 9   1 2 4 4  
              White Unicorn-H-'62   9            
              Wings of Flight-HHs-'57   0            
9 SPOONED VARIETIES
      1   3 10 Fabulous Fringes-HsHf-'61 47 9            
        3   8 Flounced Spoon-HsHf-'62 48 8         2 6
              Fringed Spoon-Hs-'61   1            
            10 Lemon Spoon-Hs-'61 48 8            
            5 Pink Spoon-Hs-'62   10            
            6 Spooned Delight-Hs-'60 48              
            8 Spooned Fantom-Hs-'60 48 4            
        1   7 Spooned Premiere-Hs-'60   8         1  
        1 4 9 Spoon of Gold-Hs-'61 49 8            
4 FLOUNCED VARIETIES
            9 Flounced Loveliness-Hf-'61 49 9       1 1  
        1 1 10 Flounced Marvel-Hf-'61 49 9           2
            9 Flounced Premiere-Hf-'61 48 3            
              Flying Repeater-Hf-'62   8            

The introductions for 1960, 1961, and 1962 naturally show very few numbered selections and named descendants since most of these newest varieties have not been in existence long enough to have progeny that have already bloomed and gone through the necessary testing period before naming and introduction. But the fertility data given for seed and pollen production of these new arrivals make it clear that it will not be long before each has an imposing array of descendants.

The chromosome counts included in the table seem to show no significant differences in the general range of numbers occurring in the three groups of horned iris. It is also evident that the horned iris as a whole have just about the same range in chromosome numbers as the ordinary tall bearded tetraploid varieties, as reported by Dr. and Mrs. L. F. Randolph in the book Garden Irises. It may, therefore, be assumed that there are not likely to be any very difficult chromosome barriers to crossing the varieties of these three new races with each other, or with almost any tall bearded variety, to bring about new colors and improvements in flower and stalk characteristics.

INTERACTION OF HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT

These new horned characters are unquestionably hereditary and are caused by the presence of certain genes in the chromosomes of these varieties. Such characters can, of course, be passed on to seedlings of the next generation according to the laws of heredity, but the visual expression of these characters is apparently conditioned upon the presence of reasonably favorable growing conditions. We surmise this from the fact that the various horned, spooned, and FLOUNCED varieties vary greatly among themselves in the degree to which they are constant. Some have so far been almost completely constant, but most varieties show some variability from year to year, and even during different parts of the blooming season. It has been noted particularly that late-planted or otherwise poorly established plants may not have enough vigor to produce horns, spoons, or flounces, or if they are produced they may not be up to their normal size. Likewise, during dry spells, or late in the blooming season, when soil nutrients are becoming depleted, the horns, spoons, or flounces in some varieties may become shorter, or even disappear entirely. It is, once again, the old story of the complex interaction of heredity and environment. But the solution is relatively simple: just select seedlings or varieties having the strongest inherent tendencies in the direction desired and give them favorable growing conditions. Then the results should be quite satisfactory.

The variation that some of these brand-new wonder iris exhibit will often prove a source of great interest arid delight to those who grow them, as they may, often unexpectedly, throw delightfully decorative forms of spoons and flounces way beyond the normal type for that variety. For example, FABULOUS FRINGES is introduced as a spooned iris, as it most commonly has fringed spoons. But on occasion it will surprise everyone and produce wonderful large petaloid flounces. Likewise, HORNED MYSTERY is classed as a horned iris, since it usually has long slender white horns contrasting beautifully with the red petals. But on occasion these white horns end in large bright red spoons an inch across, making one of the most striking displays in the entire garden.

In a similar manner the performance of previously introduced horned iris away from their place of origin has often been reported to surpass their behavior here. For example, PLUMED DELIGHT, and especially UNICORN, usually have rather plain, simple horns in our garden here. But reports from various customers make it clear that away from home these and other horned varieties often outperform themselves. This brief quotation from a long letter from Mrs. Jean Collins, in far away Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, in 1958 will show you what I mean: "I was thrilled with Unicorn & Plumed Delight which both bloomed for me 3 months after arrival. They had large frilly spoons for horns. I have coloured slides of these and I am so thrilled with them that I am having copies made & will send them to you."

Actually, the dependence of the expression of these genetic characters upon a favorable environment, puzzling though it seems at first, is no different than occurs with a multitude of other more familiar characters. Let me cite two examples.

I have a group of Tall Bearded Iris which I class as Colossals because they ordinarily (not always) produce flowers that are simply enormous. But if you plant one of the varieties of Colossals in January or February (in a mild climate) and then expect to be greeted in April or May with gigantic flowers, you are most likely expecting more than the plants can do. The weakly established plants will do well to put up short stalks with flowers that may be only a fraction of their normal size.

Let me draw one other example from the field in which I am now specializing more than any other, namely the reblooming iris. Unquestionably reblooming, inherent though it is, is very strongly conditioned in its expression by a favorable environment. When clumps become crowded, and soil nutrients are pretty well depleted, most rebloomers just are not able to produce large new rhizomes quickly enough to rebloom later the same year—as they are supposed to do. But even with relatively crowded conditions and low soil nutrients, many of the most reliable of the rebloomers can be forced to make the growth needed for reblooming by a series of irrigations with fertilized water, applied either by sprinkling or in furrows.

While I have not yet carried out any experiments along this line with my horned iris, I would forecast that improved nutrition, through the use of fertilized water or liquid manure, is likely to favor the maximum development of all manifestations of the horns, from spoons to elaborate doubled and frilled flounces. I hope some of my readers will have the opportunity to experiment along this line and let me know the results. Be sure to use an untreated "check" plot, for a comparison of responses with and without irrigation with fertilized water.

FUTURE BREEDING OBJECTIVES

This is a topic of such vast proportions that an entire article could easily be devoted to it. So I will touch very lightly on just a few highlights.

Hybridizers always need goals to work toward, and so I will set up a few, but must necessarily leave it to the ingenuities of each reader to work out how best to reach those that he may select for his own endeavors.

1. Manifestly, the greatest excitement will be derived from efforts to carry this gradual evolution on through still further stages, with the development of larger, more elaborately frilled and doubled flounces.

2. Genetic intensification of existing characteristics so that their expression will become less and less subject to modification by varying environments.

3. Combinations with other races, most notably rebloomers, laced, tangerine-bearded, flats, and oncobreds. As just one example of the things to come, I may mention that my FLYING REPEATER-'62 (listed in the preceding table) is a strongly flounced iris that reblooms heavily in the fall. We need a whole array of summer, fall, and winter blooming horned iris of all three types. And lacy edges go marvellously with the horns (HORNED LACE), spoons, and flounces.

4. New colors and patterns, and improvements in existing ones. As yet I have no good blues, blacks, browns or greens in any of the horned iris.

So, very apparently, I have only scratched the surface in the breeding of the races of horned iris. The beckoning opportunities are everywhere, and there are countless avenues of approach that have not as yet been tried by anyone. Any new, modem iris that you may have, as long as they are really superior and up-to-date, will make worthy parents to try crossing with the three races of horned iris.

My earlier varieties of horned iris, such as UNICORN and PLUMED DELIGHT live now growing in every state and in many foreign countries. So with human curiosity what it is, and the ever-present wondering about what the next generation might look like, we can depend on it that exotic new horned beauties will soon be cropping up all over the world. I am hoping that the present treatise will help to point the way to ever more rewarding achievements from hybridizing in this field.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE ALL THREE NEW RACES

The FLOUNCED iris are so new that as yet none of them have bloomed away from the Rainbow Hybridizing Gardens at Placerville, California. But many people saw them there last spring, and a surprising number told me that they just did not believe such iris existed until they saw them with their own eyes. Also somewhat over 550 Irisarians, who attended the national AIS convention at Portland in 1960, saw the dozen or so numbered seedlings of spooned and FLOUNCED iris that I exhibited in the lobby of Hotel Benson. So I think I have at last dispelled the idea that iris form is always constant, and not subject to controlled evolution.

In order that additional people may see them I sent out as guest iris last year thirteen of the finest of these newly named varieties for trial, to five gardens in the Kansas City area for bloom at the time of the national iris convention in 1962. As the rhizomes were not set out until mid or late September, the plants will probably not be very well established for bloom in 1961, but should put on a good show in 1962. Likewise, similar guests were sent to five gardens in the Redding-Red Bluff area of northern California for the 1962 meeting of Region 14. Sets of these guest iris were also sent to Kingwood Center, at Mansfield, Ohio, and to two places in Canada, namely Dr. B. C. Jenkins, University of Manitoba, at Winnipeg, and A. R. Buckley, Dominion Botanic Garden, Ottawa. So, by 1962 many members of the Society will have an opportunity to see most of these latest developments.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I want to gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Dr. E. Charles Jenkins, Cytogeneticist of the University of Manitoba, in making chromosome counts of many of my latest creations. He made these counts on root-tip material and expects to verify them using pollen mother cells. Also, I wish to thank both Dr. Jenkins and Dr. L. F. Randolph for reviewing the manuscript.