Iris giganticaerulea

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Iris giganticaerulea
Blue Iris at Jean Lafitte Barataria Unit (cropped).jpg
Wild blue iris blooming in swamp at Barataria Preserve, Louisiana.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Hexagonae
Species: I. giganticaerulea
Binomial name
Iris giganticaerulea
Small
Synonyms
  • Iris aurilinea Alexander
  • Iris citricristata Small
  • Iris elephantina Small
  • Iris fluviatilis Small
  • Iris hexagona var. giganticaerulea (Small) R.C.Foster
  • Iris miraculosa Small
  • Iris venulosa Alexander
  • Iris wherryana Small
  • Limniris giganticaerulea (Small) Rodion.[1]

Iris giganticaerulea is a species of iris, it is also in the subgenus of Limniris and in the Series Hexagonae. It is a rhizomatous perennial.

It has the common name of Giant blue iris [2][3][4][5] or Giant blue flag.[6][7][8] Note, the blue flag is normally Iris virginica.

It was first published and described by Small (of the New York Botanical Garden[9]) in 'Addisonia' in 1929.[10]

In 1937, Foster though that it was a variety of Iris hexagona and renamed it 'Iris hexagona var. giganticaerulea'.[11] In 1966, Randolph re-assessed it and classified it as a separate species.

Between 1950 and 1990, a large and fractious battle was waged over the state flower of Louisiana. Eventually, in 1990 a compromise was reached,[12] the Southern magnolia would be the state flower and Iris giganticaerulea was declared as the official state wildflower of Louisiana in 1990.[13][14]

As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes. This can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.[15] It has a chromosome count: 2n=44.[7][16][17] It has been counted several times 2n=44, Randolph 1934 (ex Randolph & Mitra in Bulletin of the American Iris Society 140, in 1956) 2n=44 Riley 1942, 2n=42, R C Foster 1937 (as Iris hexagona var. giganticaerulea)[11] and 2n=44, Randolph, 1966.[18]

Cultivation[edit]

The Louisiana irises generally all have similar cultivation requirements, with minor differences. They need full sunlight or partial shade, moist, acidic soils (ph level of 6.5) with a high organic and high fertility content (or humus rich).[7][8][19][20]

For best flowering, moisture is essential during late autumn, winter and spring times (October to May), when the plant starts to grow new leaves.[18][21] They can be given a light feed between autumn and spring, if needed.[19][20]

Propagation is best carried out by division of the rhizomes.[8][19][20][21][22][23] Which is best carried out in early autumn or early spring, when the plants are dormant. The ground must be prepared pre-planting, with the addition of a generous amount of organic matter and the soils dug to about 6 inches deep (to allow for new root growth). Plants require dividing every 3–4 years to promote good flowering. They can combine with other plants but tend to 'move' to suitable positions.[8][19][20][21]

If using a fertilizer, sprinkle around the plant in late January or February, before the plant is in flower.[19][20][21]

New plantings need to be mulched to prevent sun-scalding.[19][20] It is also recommended to be added to during winter.[8]

The iris seed is not hard to raise but a very slow process.[22] It can take many months to germinate (between 3–12 months) with a 50% germination average.[20] They then can take 3–5 years before reaching flowering stage.[22]

Seeds should be harvested from the plant after flowering but they must be from mature seed pods. They then should be stored in paper bags, as seed stored in glass containers often goes mouldy.[20]

Iris giganticaerulea and Iris hexagona are considered too tender for cultivation in the UK.[24][25] Since it needs moist acid soils, with warm summers and milder winters.[24]

It is hardy to USDA Zone 7 to 11 (or 5 and 6 if protected during the winter).[7][8]

It is often available at water garden centres.[7]

Description[edit]

Giant Blue Iris Seeds

Iris giganticaerulea (like its common name the Giant blue Iris) is the largest species of the Louisiana Irises.[3][15]

It has very large green rhizomes, which are between 5 to 12 inches (13 – 30 cm) long and 0.75 to 1.5 inches (2–4 cm) thick.[7][16] They are shallow rooted, marked with the scars (of the previous seasons) leaves, with many branches, which can form a large clump/colony growing up to 6 x 3 feet (182 x 91 cm).[3][8][16]

It has rising from the base of the plant, 4-6 bright green leaves, ensiform (sword-shaped) and measuring between 20 - 30 inches (50–76 cm) long and 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide.[3][5][8][16][25]

It has very tall stems, that can grow between to between 28 – 71 inches (70–180 cm) tall.[5][6][7][9][15][16][17][25] They can have 2-3 branches,[16] with 1-2 terminal flowers, arising above the leaves.[3][16] There can be up to 12 flowers on the plant.[25]

It blooms between during early to mid summer, generally between March and April (both in the UK and America),[15][16] with fragrant flowers which have a musky scent.[3][8]

It comes in a range of blue shades,[15] from pale blue,[3][7][16][17] to lavender blue,[3][9][15][25] to bright blue,[5][8][9][15][25] to dark blue,[6][7][17] and to violet blue.[3][7][8][16][25] Occasionally there is a white form,[6][7][9][15][25] or yellowish white.[3]

The flowers are generally 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) across.[7][8][9] It has 6 petals, 3 outer sepals (called the falls), which are flaring (1.75 inch or 4 cm wide), arch downwards and have a white or yellow or faint orange signal patch or ridge.[3][5][7][9][17][25] It also has 3 inner sepals (called the standards), which are slightly erect or upright and narrower than the falls.[3][5][25]

It has a 4–5 cm long perianth tube, blue-violet style 1.3-1.5 inch (3.5–4 cm long) and 2 lobed stigmas.[16]

After flowering, it has bright green ellipsoid capsules 3-4 inches (7–10 cm) long by 1 inch (3 cm) wide, which are hexagonal in cross section and shaped like a D.[16][18]

Native[edit]

Iris giganticaerulea is native to Alabama, Louisiana[3][7][8][9][15][25] (on the west edge of Mississippi River), eastern Texas[3][7][8][9] and Mississippi in the United States.[16][17]

This constricted range is due to limited hardiness of the species.[9]

It grows in shallow freshwater, within roadside ditches, clearings within swamps (including cypress swamps[9]), wet meadows and marshes.[6][16][5][7][8] It is tolerant of brackish water.[3][7]

Hybrids[edit]

Iris giganticaerulea can easily hybridize with other Louisiana irises to create new variants.

Several American garden nurseries and plant breeders have created many Iris giganticaerulea cultivars including, 'Angel Wings', 'Atrocyanea', 'Barbara Elaine Taylor', 'Bayou Barataria', 'Bayou Boeuf', 'Bayou St John', 'Bette Lee', 'Billy Mac', 'Biloxi', 'Cameron White', 'China Blue', 'Citricristata', 'Citricristata Alba', 'Citriviola', 'Coteau Holmes', 'Creole Can-Can', 'Easter Surprise', 'Elephantina', 'Excitement', 'Florence Zacharie', 'Gentilly Road', 'Gheen's White', 'Giganticaerulea Alba', 'Giganticaerulea Royal', 'Gulf Mist', 'Her Highness', 'High Hat', 'Iberville', 'Isle Bonne', 'Joe Mac', 'Kildea', 'La Bahia ', 'Lafitte', 'La Premiere', 'Laughing Water', 'Lazy Day', 'Longfellow's Gabriel', 'Mandeville', 'Miraculosa', 'Paludicola', 'Ruth Holleyman', 'Silverblu ', 'Snow Flag', 'Snow Goose', 'Southern Accent','Spanish Fort', 'Trixie'.[18]

Other crosses include with Iris fulva to produce 'Iris × vinicolor' Small.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iris giganticaerulea Small is an accepted name". theplantlist.org. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Iris giganticaerulea". facstaff.hsc.unt.edu. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Iris giganticaerulea". fs.fed.us. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "PLANT CHECKLIST". americaswetlandresources.com. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Iris giganticaerulea". wildflower.org. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Brzuszek, Robert F. (21 August 2014). "Louisiana Iris in the Home Landscape". msucares.com. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Kramb, D. (20 September 2004). "Iris giganticaerulea". signa.org (Species Iris Group of North America). Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Iris". rslandscapedesign.blogspot.co.uk. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dillard, Tom W. "FROM NEW ORLEANS TO NEW ZEALAND, History and Development of The Louisiana Irises". zydecoirises.com. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  10. ^ 130075-2 "Iridaceae Iris giganticaerulea Small". ipni.org (International Plant Names Index). Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Riley, Herbert Parkes (December 1938). "A Character Analysis of Colonies of Iris Fulva, Iris Hexagona Var. Giganticaerulea and Natural Hybrids". American Journal of Botany (Botanical Society of America) 25 (10): 727–738. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Mary A.HoodEcotravel on the World's Rivers&pg=PA38 _vmOwmSh12YC, p. 38, at Google Books
  13. ^ "Louisiana Laws: RS 49:154.1". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "LOUISIANA LAGNIAPPE". sos.la.gov. 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Austin, Claire. "Irises A Garden Encyclopedia" (PDF). worldtracker.org. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "FNA Vol. 26 Page 394". efloras.org. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Iris summary" (pdf). pacificbulbsociety.org. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d Laurin, Terry (19 August 2014). "(SPEC) Iris giganticaerulea Small". wiki.irises.org. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f Gill, Dan; Owings, Allen (1969). "Louisiana Iris" (PDF). Louisiana State University. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Helen Nash Guide to Water Garden Plants ssKzSCtgyZ8C at Google Books
  21. ^ a b c d Neil G. Odenwald and James R. Turner Selection, and Use of Southern Plants: For Landscape Design&pg=PA316 S__s1QADDJoC, p. 316, at Google Books
  22. ^ a b c Nick Romanowski Garden Plants & Animals: The Complete Guide for All Australia gQsVgaxl-9kC at Google Books
  23. ^ Gill, Dan (9 August 2006). "Get It Growing: It’s Time To Divide Louisiana Irises Get It Growing News". lsuagcenter.com. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Stebbings, Geoff (1997). The Gardener's Guide to Growing Irises. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 18. ISBN 0715305395. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cassidy, George E.; Linnegar, Sidney (1987). Growing Irises (Revised ed.). Bromley: Christopher Helm. p. 146. ISBN 0-88192-089-4. 

External links[edit]

Other Sources[edit]

  • British Iris Society, A Guide to Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation (1997)

Media related to Iris giganticaerulea at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Iris giganticaerulea at Wikispecies