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The Randolph-Perry Medal

Founders Of SIGNA Medal

This is the highest award given by the American Iris Society restricted to species hybrids. This award and the Founders of SIGNA award cover all types of Iris hybrids and species and the other classifications overlap and are refinements of these two classes. Note the term interspecies cross is more limited than this horticultural category which include species crossed with the other horticultural classes…...............................................related links; Awards, 2015 Randolph-Perry Candidates.

History by Clarence Mahan

This medal is restricted to species crosses (SPEC-X). It is named in honor of Dr. L. F. Randolph (1894-1980) and Amos Perry (1871-1953).


Dr. L. F. Randolph, or "Fitz" as he was affectionately called by his many friends and associates, was one of the most important figures in the world of irises for several decades. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He was a professor of botany at Cornell University, and at the same time, he was a cytologist for the United States Department of Agriculture. His scientific studies of corn genetics gained him worldwide recognition. He was the first person to induce polyploidy in corn, and he developed a strain of highly fertile tetraploid corn. He was also an authority on the cytogenetic effects of X-rays on corn and various other plants, and he was an acknowledged authority on the cytology of orchids.

Dr. Randolph was chairman of the AIS Scientific Committee from 1945 to 1956. The work he and his students Jyotirmay Mitra and Katherine Heinig did on iris chromosomes produced many published monographs and provide the basis of our scientific understanding of the genus. He conducted a number of extensive iris species collection expeditions and brought back new species and many new forms of other iris species, especially of I. pumila . Bee Warburton wrote about one occasion when Dr. Randolph showed up at an iris meeting in Westboro, Massachusetts with a truck of iris species. She wrote: "They filled the whole trunk, all these species never before seen in America, pot after pot, all in full and generous bloom, atticas, pseudopumilas, chamaeirises, aphyllas, furcatas, undreamed of forms of Iris pumila."

Dr. Randolph created the current AIS classification system for garden irises. He edited the book Garden Irises, which was published by AIS. He served as Membership Chairman for AIS (195659), and was the president of AIS (1960-62). AIS awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal in 1951. The British Iris Society honored him with the Foster Memorial Plaque in 1955.


The first British Dykes Medal ever awarded went to 'Margot Holmes' in 1927. Amos Perry hybridized this cultivar, a cross between I. chrysographes and I. douglasiana . Perry's yellow tall bearded iris G. P. Baker won the British Dykes in 1930. These awards would represent the highest achievement for most iris breeders, but for Amos Perry they were just more trophies. The plants he hybridized-irises, daylilies, oriental poppies, ferns, water lilies, delphiniums, asters, and others---won many Awards of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The RHS society awarded Perry its highest honor, the Victoria Medal of Honour, in 1935. Perry received the Veitch Memorial Medal in Gold in 1950.

Amos Perry was born into a family of nurserymen. Perry was one of the first hybridizers to use the tetraploid irises 'Amas', I. trojana , I. mesopotamica and I. cypriana . One of his first introductions was 'Black Prince' (1900), a star in collections of historic irises to the present day. He introduced scores of new bearded cultivars, but he was more interested in Siberian irises and iris species. He probably created more new hybrid interspecies irises than any other iris breeder. His new hybrid irises often had names that indicated their species parentage, such as 'Chrysogana' ( I. chrysographes x I. bulleyana ); 'Tebract' ( I. tenax x I. bracteata ); 'Longsib' ( I. longipetala x I. siberica ); and 'Chrysowigi' ( I. chrysographes x I. hartwegii ). [Today cultivar names can no longer be composites but these old names have been conserved] He also raised hundreds of new hemerocallis cultivars even though the daylily was not popular with the gardening public. He believed there would come a day when people would see the merits of daylilies, just as he had earlier believed people would come to see the virtue of irises.

Addendum: Randolph and Perry were chosen to be honored by this Medal for species hybrids because of their contributions in recognizing natural hybrids and experimenting in new directions with crosses between species. Randolph's chromosome work proved that Iris pumila had arisen naturally from crossing Iris attica and Iris pseudopumila . Today a number of recognized Iris species are attributed to natural crosses between various ancesters including the type of the Genus, Iris germanica . The award is given by SIGNA to encourage innovation creating entirely new types of Iris.

List of Randolph-Perry Medal winners - Species crosses (SPEC-X):
    ‘Happy Traveler’
2023 - (Tie) -Marty Schafer & Jan Sacks
‘Lemony Snicket’
2023 - (Tie) - Jill Copeland
2022 (Tie) - J. T. Aitken
2022 - (Tie) - Hiroshi Shimizu by Carol Warner
2021 - Hiroshi Shimizu by Carol Warner
2021 - Hiroshi Shimizu by Carol Warner'
'China In Springtime'
2019 - David Niswonger
'Take No Sato'
2018 - Hiroshi Shimizu by Carol Warner
2017 - Hiroshi Shimizu by Carol Warner
'Who's On First'
2016 - Robert Hollingworth
'Do The Math'
2015 - Jill Copeland
'Wooly Bully'
2014 - Jill Copeland
Wooly Bully
'Roy's Repeater'
2013 - J. Terry Aitken
Roy's Repeater
'For Jay'
2012 - Jill Copeland
For Jay
'Night Mood'
2011 - Lynn Markham
Night Mood
'Ally Oops'
2010 - Dana Borglum
Ally Oops
2009 - Paul Black
'Alpha Gnu'
2008 - Brad Kasperek
Alpha Gnu
'Sibtosa Princess'
2007 - Tomas Tamberg
No Award Given
'Pixie Won'
2005 - Jill Copeland
Pixie Won
'Enfant Prodige'
2004 - Tony Huber
Enfant Prodige
'Cascade Velvet'
2003 - J. Halinar
Cascade Velvet
'Aquatic Alliance'
2002 - Lorena Reid
Aquatic Alliance
'Holden's Child'
2001 - Sarah Tiffney
Holden’s Child
'Phil Edinger'
2000 - Ben Hager
Phil Edinger


-- Main.RPries - 2009-12-24
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
PP2-Dr.L.F.Randolph-resize-bw_2X2editRandolph-resize-bw_2X2edit PP2-Dr.L.F.Randolph-resize-bw_2X2edit manage 59 K 26 Aug 2010 - 15:31 UnknownUser AIS slides
Randolph-Perry_Medal.jpgjpg Randolph-Perry_Medal.jpg manage 46 K 26 Aug 2010 - 15:28 UnknownUser AIS slides
Topic revision: r42 - 24 Aug 2023, WayneMesser
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