A Favorite Cross

I would like to share with you my most rewarding and favorite cross over the past 38 years involving Japanese irises, Iris ensata, ‘Night Angel’ (Aitken 1996) X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ (Bauer/Coble 1997).

‘Night Angel’ the pod parent
‘Frosted Intrigue’ the pollen parent

Looking to the background of the two parents you will find many different patterns, selves, rims, sanded, blazed, veined, and rays.

Pictured here are but a few of the lineage check out the American Iris Society Wiki for more photos of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

‘Frosted Pyramid’ one of the parents to ‘Frosted Intrigue’
‘Dancing Waves’ a parent to ‘Night Angel’
‘Reign of Glory’ a grandparent to ‘Night Angel’
‘Warai hotei’ a historic from Japan is a grandparent to ‘Night Angel’

The cross ‘Night Angel’ X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ I have made twice now for myself. A small trial planting in 2002 with about 30 seedlings produced 15 seedlings worthy to line out to take a second look at. Of these, four were eventually selected to be introduced.

‘Artesian Spring’ dark with a light ray pattern
‘Dalle Whitewater’ beautiful sanded pattern
‘Columbia Deep Water’ dark blends of blue-violet
‘Columbia Crest’ large dark central crests

Because of the high percentage of worthwhile seedlings I remade this cross to line out several hundred more seedlings. The first that caught my eye with its maiden bloom in the seedling field was 08JE1, registered 2016 and introduced 2017 as ‘Koto Harp Strings’.

‘Koto Harp Strings’ rich blue with white ray pattern

Many other siblings have been lined out and also guested to the 2020 Japanese Iris Convention to be hosted in Nova Scotia, Canada. Following are a few of these 2008 seedlings that have been re-selected for possible future introductions.

08JE7 seedling lilac with darker veining and halo
08JE9 seedling violet sanded pattern
08JE4 seedling full round pastel with darker veining
08JE2 seedling ruffled pastel darker style arms and crests
08JE6 seedling dark sharp contrasting veins, halos and crests

As you can see with the seedlings and introduced varieties from ‘Night Angel’ X ‘Frosted Intrigue’ that the pattern breakout is wide and varied.

I share my favorite cross to hopefully entice someone young and new to hybridizing to raise the tweezers and try their hand with Japanese iris, Iris ensata.

(a full description of patterns with photos can be found at the blog titled: Colors, Patterns of Japanese Iris, April 18, 2016)