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“Try to imagine the iris of the future”

Back in 1601, the Flemish botanist Charles de l’Écluse already described 28 tall bearded iris seedlings in his work “Rariorium Plantarum Historia”; no doubt those varieties were very different to ours. So, what will irises look like by 2050? A few recent evolutions help give us a clue. With Barbarian names, the following 3 examples may not please everybody but they are interesting from an evolutionary point of view:

Bewilderbeast
Bewilderbeast

The “Broken-colors”
These strange and unique flowers with a randomly white or cream striated and marbled effect on the petals and sepals, so that on one same plant, each flower will display a different “design”. Rather popular, this range is developing and this trend should continue. Let’s also hope that their vegetative qualities will be improved as well.

Froufroutant (Cayeux 2014)
Froufroutant (Cayeux 2014)

The “Space-age”
No, these are not extra-terrestrials, just irises with a hypertrophied beard, transformed into a spur (for the more discreet, see ‘Thornbird’), or into a more or less imposing spoon, which can even sometimes be frizzy. Despite the fact that these varieties have an original “look”, one should not be overwhelmed by a small 3mm spur, but rather turn one’s attention to the well-developed spoon varieties which do not hinder the flower’s shape.

Fluffy Pillows
Fluffy Pillows

The “Flat tops”
They are rare, only 3 to 4 varieties in the leading specialists’ current catalogues, rare and beautiful. Their wide, flat-topped flowers clearly remind one of the Japanese iris and their radically different poise sets them aside from the other tall bearded iris.

So, when might we see a “broken-color”-styled “flat top” boasting a large spoon? We will, no doubt, have to be a little patient and wait a few years in the hope that this will remain aesthetically pleasing, as maintaining a certain level of beauty remains our prime concern.

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