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(Spec) Iris squalens L.

(SPEC) Iris squalens 1759, Botanical author Linnaeus

'Squalens' (Wild hybrid, Carl Linnaeus, 1759, Central Europe to the Caucasus and Armenia). TB; Late season of bloom. Thought to be a hybrid between [Iris variegata L. and Iris pallida Lam.].

Originally considered a species Iris squalens L. by Linnaeus, later registered as a Tall-bearded cultivar, see 'Squalens'

See below:

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Linneaus in Syst. pl. ed. 10:863. 1759;
(Cultivated before 1790); Listed by Gordon 1790; Dickson 1794
AIS 1939 Checklist also uses Squalens as a type of pattern in its color classifications. Iris may be designated as Squalens and should not be confused with the "species" Iris squalens (a natural hybrid which may also be sterile like sambucina and therefore more likely to show little variation and perhaps should be thought of as a cultivar.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine 21: tab. 787. 1805, (SPEC) Iris squalens"Although in our account of Iris pallida, No. 685, we have considered this as a mere variety of Iris sambucina, No. 187 of this work, excluding Iris squalens altogether ; nevertheless, that we may satisfy such of our readers as may not entirely coincide with us in opinion, we have thought it right to give a figure of it, under the name by which it has been usually known; indeed it was only in compliance with the general, though erroneous, appellation of the later Botanists, that we did not restore Linneaus's name of sambucina to our pallida and apply this of squalens to our sambucina and its varieties.
Our drawing was taken at Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes's Nursery in May 1803. It is perfedly hardy and easily propagated by parting its roots."
Listed by Tougard 1839; Prince 1823;
Gardeners' Chronicle 1883
Journal of The Royal Horticultural Society 15: 3. Oct 1889;
Handbook of the Irideae by J. P. Baker, p. 86,1892; gives;-- "Rhizome stout, short-creeping. Leaves ensiform, glaucous, 1 to 1-1/2 ft. long, 1 to 1-1/2 in. broad. Stems 3-4 headed, 2-3 ft. long. Spathes 2-3 flowered, 1-1/2 to 2 in. long; valves oblong, subscariose; pedicel short. Perianth-tube under an inch long; limb 2-1/2 to 3 in. long; falls obovate-cuneate, reflexing from halfway down, the upper part plain bright lilac-purple, the claw veined with lilac-purple on a whitish or yellowish ground; beard bright yellow; standards obovate-unguiculate, as long and as broad as the falls, plain dull lilac and yellow or brownish and yellow. Style branches above an inch long; crests deltoid"
Listed by Macoun; Hilaire 1929
Dykes in the Genus Iris 1913 On Sambucina and Squalens notes;

It seems impossible to give any satisfactory account of these two Irises. Their history is not at all clear and we may perhaps be permitted to infer that Linnaeus had some doubt as to their claim to specific rank from the fact that he did not include them in his first edition of the Species Plantarum.

It is only in the tenth edition of the Systema (1759} that we find described on p. 863 an Iris no. 3 A under the name of I. sambucina and no. 3 B under that of I. squalens. They are only distinguished in one point, namely in the character of the falls (sambucina "petalis deflexis planis; squalens petalis deflexis replicatis"). The meagre descriptions given were presumably felt to be inadequate, for in the second edition of the Species Plantarum (1762) on p. 55 they are amplified and made less vague.

We gather from this account that I. sambucina had violet or bluish flowers with bluish style branches, while in I. squalens the yellow-white veins on the bluish ground of the falls were more marked and the standards and style branches of a dingy yellow.

This description of I. sambucina agrees fairly well with the plate in Reichenbach's Icones cccxxxv. fig. 762, which is also mentioned by Hausmann Flora von Tirol (l.c.) as representing a plant that grows near Bozen. This plant I have obtained and cultivated and if the identification is correct, then the description may be further amplified as follows.

Leaves , with purple colouration at the base.
Stem , much branched, and many flowered, for even the lateral branches bear 3 flowers.
Spathes , 1-! in. long, largely but not wholly scarious.
Pedicel , none in the case of the two outer flowers in each spathe but -! in. long in the case of the centre flower, which is the last to bloom.
Ovary , ! in. with six grooves at equal intervals.
Tube , 1 in.
Falls , obovate-cuneate ; the blade much veined with deep bluish-purple on a grey-white ground; the veins coalesce towards the tip of the blade. On the haft the veins are rather brown-purple on a yellow-white ground. The beard is orange. Standards , obovate with short canaliculate haft; the blade of a dingy yellowish-purple and the haft veined with brown-purple on yellow.
Styles , dingy yellow with a sharp blue-purple keel.
Crests , large, broadly triangular, of the same mixed colour as the standards.
Stigma, entire.
Filaments , white, tinged with faint lavender.
Anthers , small cream.
Pollen , cream.
Capsule and pollen not seen, because the plant appears to be usually sterile.

The plant just described is not that usually grown as I. sambucina and it sometimes appears under the name of I. lurida, e.g. in the Caen Botanic Garden, but it is probably the plant that was the subject of Linnaeus' description.

I. squalens is said in the original description to differ by having standards and styles of a squalid yellow colour. The falls are veined with yellow-white on a bluish ground. Such a form exists in gardens and so does also another in which the bluish ground is replaced by red-purple. The plant already described as I. sambucina is so similar to both of these except in colour, which in Irises is a character the reverse of reliable, that it is impossible to look upon them except as hybrid forms and we must acknowledge that further investigation and breeding experiments are necessary before the mystery of their origin can be cleared up.

[N.B. It is not quite clear whether the Bozen plants must be looked upon as really wild or as probable escapes from cultivation. With the specimens that I received came two other plants of much dwarfer growth. In one the standards are clear yellow and in the other of a murky yellow. In both the falls are veined with claret-red on a yellowish-white ground. These plants are quite different from what I take to be I. squalens, being much dwarfer and having a much less ample inflorescence. I understand that these plants now grow near Bozen with that described as I. sambucina.]

On the whole I am inclined to think that the two plants that Linnaeus described as I. sambucina and I. squalens were both hybrids of I. pallida and I. variegata. They are intermediate in many ways between these two species, e.g. in the spathes and in the colour, and the leaves die down in winter as do those of both the supposed parents. The fact that forms closely resembling I. sambucina and I. squalens have been obtained from crosses between I. plicata and I. variegata seems to support this view, for I. pticata is only apparently an example of I. pallida in which some factor is present that prevents the purple colour from appearing except at the edges of the segments. See also p. 2 34.



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Distribution and Cultivation

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-- BobPries - 2011-03-07
Topic revision: r7 - 06 Oct 2016, BobPries
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