Friday, April 13, 2007

"New Iris"

A significant effort, even revolutionary, is underway that is causing many plants to be reclassified. Basing their work on DNA, taxonomists are reshuffling their lists and dealing familiar plants into new stacks of families and genera. The changes always surprise me when I stumble upon them and I'm finding it hard to keep up with what's current.

This is exactly what happened when I found a couple of familiar plants had “lost” their names and become Iris.

Old NameNew NameCommon Name
Belamcanda chinensisIris domesticaBlackberry Lily
Pardanthopsis dichotomaIris dichotoma
x-PardancandaIris x-norrisiiCandy Lily

Iris x-norrisii (Candy Lily)
For once the marketing reps got it right with the common name.
These have been an absolute delight in the garden.

The interesting aspect to all this is how often the earlier taxonomists were correct. Basing their classifying on careful inspection of a plant's physical characteristics, especially its reproductive structures, they grouped plants into related families and generas that are being verified with current DNA testing. Some changes are being made now, this is true, but they were more often correct than wrong. Tomorrow: More Iris!

Note: Bluebird Nursery is the source of the pictures and my garden plants.

1 Comment:

Kathy said...

This would be good for CCG.