Author: Mgr. Milan Blažek
Most of varieties in culture come from Asian species called Blood Iris (Iris sanguinea) and Siberian Iris (I. sibirica). Exposition bed of siberian irises is planted along fence at bottom part of rosarium (Exposition garden).
Elementary species for this group is Yellow Band Iris (I. orientalis syn.: I. ochroleuca) but also many other species. A new display bed is planned in upper part of rosarium, next to Japanese irises
This group comes from Japanese Iris (I. ensata syn.: I. kaempferi). There is a new display bed in progress along fence in the very upper part of rosarium. It is still worked on.
Iris barbata Elatior Group
This is the biggest part of our collections. Basic species for this group are Hungarian iris (Iris avriegata) and Dalmatian Iris or Sweet Iris (Iris pallida). They give origins to most of irises with smaller flowers. Tall irises with large flowers come from hybridizing these cultivars with big-flowered irises from Mediterranean.
A central display is dedicated to this group. There is a smaller part called “Czech Triangle” where irises from Czech breeders are planted in chronological order. It is emphasized on the beginnings of their work and follow-up different direction in breeding.
This part of iris collections can be considered as the most valuable. Wild species can still be found in natural localities and are in focus of botanists. Forms in culture (historical or modern) have different character and their gathering and studying is a very difficult task in all meanings. There are only a few displays similar to this in the world, because of very minimal interest in original botanical species in last 80 years, when intensive breeding of garden irises happened. Original irises were lost or they survived in gardens as nameless plants or naturalized in wild and it is very hard to determine what they are, nowadays.
A) Tall natural irises and derived historical forms
This group is planted in the top of displays of bearded irises in rosarium.
Dalmatian Iris (Iris pallida) comes from west part of Balkan Peninsula. It is often found in gardens and also as escaped and naturalized back in wild of south to south-west Europe. It is a source of vitality and fragrance of modern irises. It is also grown as utility plant for rhizomes, which contain essential oils. Its mutation ‘plicata‘ is very important, too, because it was used in hybridization for centuries.
Hungarian iris (Iris variegata) is domestic to Czech Rep. growing from central to south-east Europe. It is a yellow color source of garden irises.
Pallida-Variegata Hybrids are ancient hybrid plants sometimes described as individual species I. sambucina or I. squalens. They naturalized in European gardens centuries ago.
The big-flowered irises from Mediterranean, which are the main genetic source for large-flowered garden irises are Iris macrantha,. I. trojana and I. mesopotamica.
German Iris (I. germanica) is also ancient garden plant. It is actually a group of sterile clones, which names are often connected to irises of different origins - descendants of the preceding species.
B) Lower botanical irises
This group is placed together with garden cultivars of dwarf bearded irises (Iris barbata Nana). The botanical species are:
Dwarf Iris (I. pumila) as a main source of dwarf hybrids and complex of
Crimean Iris (I. lutescens) responsible for Intermedia group cultivars.
Balkan Iris (I. reichenbachii) have the merit of bicolor garden irises (tall, medium and miniature cultivars) bred from the half of the last century.
Stool Iris (I. aphylla) has brought blue beard to tall bearded irises.
Translation: Marketa Machackova