White Cemetery Iris in Bloom

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Friday, March, 18 2016 09:09:00 pm   , 164 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 18612 views



The White Cemetery Iris (Iris albicans), also known as the White Flag, or simply the Cemetery Iris, has been used for centuries for grave decoration. In part this is due to its origin in the arid Arabian Peninsula. Thus they are hardy enough to be left unattended indefinitely. Long used in cemetery plantings throughout North Africa, the White Cemetery Iris was eventually introduced through Spain to Europe and by the Spaniards brought into Mexico.


Iris albicans, so named in 1860 by the prominent Danish botanist Johan Martin Christian Lange, is a natural sterile hybrid of 44 chromosomes, believed to have resulted from a natural cross of a species with 40 chromosomes with a species of 48 chromosomes. It does not produce seeds but is spread only through rhizome growth and human-aided distribution and cultivation.


Shown here is the first 2016 bloom (14 March) in one of three beds of Cemetery Irises I have growing, started from rhizomes thinned in the early 1980's from near the grave of my great grandmother.

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