Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii ex Vardar Gorge, Macedonia

There is a dwarf iris (actually two different clones) in circulation as Iris reichenbachii ex Varda Gorge, Macedonia. It was obtained by Harald Mathes from Robert Sheck. It was collected by Rudolf Wuerdig. Mathes found these plants did not cross readily with diploid Iris reichenbachii, but intercrossed readily and also crossed readily with tetraploid (TTTT) MTBs. Mathes inferred that these were tetraploid forms of I. reichenbachii. Lowell Baumunk received them from Mathes and distributed them through
Iris Colorado. Although Lowell is no longer selling commercially, he was kind enough to send me a start of this plant.

I wrote to Harald because I had seen several different spellings of the collection location, and my maps showed a Vardar River in Macedonia, but no Varda River. Harald confirmed that it was the Vardar River gorge where the plants were collected. He also indicated that future breeding has led him to believe that the plants are actually PPTT amphidploids (presumably a reichenbachii/pumila hybrid), as the seedlings from crosses with tetraploid MTBs proved essentially infertile. If Harald is correct, these plants should produce fertile seedlings when crossed with SDBs. I hope to test it with both SDBs and TTTT tetraploids when it blooms. Update: I have made a number of crosses of this plant with SDBs and SDB-type MDBs, with good success rate and lots of seeds, and have even lined out a dozen or more seedlings. Unfortunately, that was the year grasshoppers ate averything in the seedling bed. I continue to make these test crosses each year, but cannot yet verify Mathes's hypothesis.

The most correct designation for Harald's original plants is "Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii ex Vardar Gorge".

I am also growing a seedling of this plant from George Hildebrandt, raised from SIGNA seed 05B011, hand-pollinated seed from Mathes (cross of his two clones).

Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii
ex Vardar Gorge, Macedonia
Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii
ex Vardar Gorge, Macedonia

Hildebrandt seedling (SIGNA 05B011)
Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii ex Vardar Gorge

 Tom Waters

June 2011

updated April 2018

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