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Fragrance in Wild Western Gardens: Irises

Articles: Fragrance in Wild Western Gardens: Irises

A typical, purple-flowered Iris macrosiphon from northern Mendocino County. Author’s photographs

[sidebar]The possibilities of this species [Iris macrosiphon] as a potential source of fragrance and other desirable qualities in a breeding program have yet to be explored.

Clarke Cosgrove, The World of Irises, 1978[/sidebar]

Fragrance is an attribute that should be connected with the genus Iris. Unfortunately, many experts are likely to testify that divinely fragrant irises hail from Eurasia and the North American kinds lack any noticeable fragrance.

Slowly, accurate observations are being made. Slowly, good words about this world do spread. Yes, we can learn more about our Wild Western plants.

Most irises native to the Wild West really do smell, although their aroma is commonly quite musty or odd. Some forms of native ground irises are utterly delightful, smelling like the grandest freesias and violets. Spring comes, and the odor of Wild Western ground irises rises up warm, sunny mountainsides and slides down cool canyons. How do you get more? The odor is fleeting and beguiling to the nose, and one...


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