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from LICI


Updated: Oct 29

October 24, 2022 New Orleans, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative's (LICI) founder and president, Gary Salathe, was invited by the American Iris Society's (AIS) Region 2 to participate in their membership zoom meeting on Saturday, October 22. 2022 by giving a presentation on LICI's iris restoration projects. Region 2 of the AIS is made up of iris societies in the state of New York and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Charles Perilloux, one of a group of members of the Society for Louisiana Irises that preserve species of the Louisiana iris, was also asked to share the 1 hour allotted time for the talk to do a presentation about his group.

Photo: Screenshot of the October 22nd AIS Region 2 Zoom meeting showing Gary Salathe (on left) and Charles Perilloux during the meeting.

The meeting host invited the two presenters because he was particularly interested in knowing if any of the things that LICI and Charles' group does could be replicated in his group's area. Gary's preparation for his presentation (outlined in the article below) included discovering opportunities for iris species restoration in the areas of AIS Region 2.

Since Gary is a contributor to the American Iris Society's World of Irises blog, he wrote an article about his Region 2 zoom meeting presentation for the blog that went live on Monday 24th. You can find his posting here:

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Updated: Oct 9

Madisonville, La. October 7, 2022

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative partnered with the Louisiana Iris Species Preservation Project of the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI) to collect Louisiana iris seeds and plants for a donation to Professor Domingo Jariel, Department of Biology, in the Agriculture department at Louisiana State University in Eunice, La. The professor was shipped 200 I. giganticaerulea seeds and 20 I. giganticaerulea plants two weeks ago and 20 I. brevicaulis plants yesterday.

LSU Eunice is the only comprehensive two-year institution within the LSU system. The town is in parts of three parishes, St. Landry, Acadia and Evangeline in West-central Louisiana.

Professor Jariel contacted LICI a few months ago and asked for their help in finding seeds and plants of native Louisiana iris species. He has been doing studies and experiments with his students on trying to increase the number iris seeds that successfully germinate. The information could become very helpful for a future effort to propagate species irises for marsh and swamp restoration projects.

The I. giganticaerulea plants and seeds that were donated to Professor Jariel came

from this clump of irises that are seen blooming in April 2022.

LICI connected Professor Jariel with members of the Louisiana Iris Species Preservation Project of the Society For Louisiana Irises (SLI). A decision was made that LICI would partner with SLI to help the professor. LICI's volunteers would go out and collect the I. giganticaerulea seeds and plants and the members of SLI would collect and donate the I. brevicaulis plants and seeds. In exchange, Professor Jariel will share with SLI the future results of the experiments and what his students have learned.

Seed pods and seeds of the I. giganticaerulea species of the

Louisiana iris are shown in the photo.

"This whole arrangement will work out really well because we at LICI are not interested in germinating iris seeds ourselves since we only do planting projects using irises we have rescued from destruction out in the wild. But we do love getting in the outdoors to collect seeds and iris plants!" president of LICI Gary Salathe said.

Salathe added that LICI also sees a real value in these studies being done on the I. giganticaerulea seeds by LSUE because his group is advocating for USDA-approved nurseries to do mass propagation of Louisiana irises for the huge marsh and swamp restorations that will be taking place when the Mississippi River diversions finish construction and begin to operate. "There are a few key things that need to happen first, one of which is being able to teach these nurseries when the time comes on how to propagate irises from seeds," Salathe says.

Many of the SLI members that are involved in the donation are iris hybridizers. Their hobby requires that they know a thing or two about iris seed germinating, so they will be offering Professor Jariel ideas and advice, as he requests it, on what they know in exchange for him sharing the results of his students' work.

The I. brevicaulis species of the Louisiana iris in bloom. The range of this

iris includes the areas around west Louisiana.

The twenty I. brevicaulis plants ended up being donated by the Greater New Orleans Iris Society from their collection of species irises at their nursery because the site where the irises and seeds were to be collected from was destroyed by Hurricane Ida. Unfortunately, this was not discovered in time to allow for seeds to be collected from other sites.

The I. giganticaerulea iris plants and seeds collected for the donation came from a large stand of irises growing along a remote lake shoreline within the undeveloped natural areas of a huge subdivision near Madisonville, La. They are irises that were rescued five years ago and planted there. They have now become part of the LICI project to have sites growing and increasing their rescued irises all on their own in the event there are no sites available with irises to rescue when a need comes up for irises to plant in the future.

An I. giganticaerulea iris flower is shown with its number one pollinator, the bumblebee.

An article about the SLI's project by Charles Perilloux, who is one of the members of the SLI Species Preservation Project, can be found here:

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Updated: Oct 9

October 2, 2022 New Iberia, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) completed a Louisiana iris planting along the shoreline of Bayou Teche in New Iberia, La.'s City Park on Saturday, October 1, 2022. The planting was a result of a partnership between the LICI and the T.E.C.H.E Project to plant native wetlands plants along Bayou Teche. The purpose of the project is to show landowners along the bayou that native plants can be used to stabilize the shoreline instead of concrete riprap. The project will also beautify this section of City Park and Bayou Teche.

This was the second planting completed by the two groups working together in City Park. The first planting of 130 irises was done last year as a test to see if the irises would do well. They did, so this year the number of irises planted was increased to 450 plants.

The I. giganticaerulea iris, a native species of Louisiana iris, which grows in the swamps and marshes south of New Iberia, was the iris planted in the project. The irises came from LICI's iris rescue program, which involves the group's volunteers removing wild native irises from threatened habitats and relocating them to protected sites.

Many of the irises that were planted at New Iberia's City Park on Saturday came from this iris "rescue" event held by LICI in March. The volunteers removed I. giganticaerulea irises from a site near New Orleans that is zoned for commercial development and is for sale.

New Iberia's mayor, Freddie DeCourt, has been very supportive of the project in New Iberia's City Park. The planting was only possible because he had the concrete riprap removed from the shoreline. The mayor also came out on Saturday to help plant the irises.

Volunteers are shown planting irises along the bank of Bayou Teche in

New Iberia's City Park on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

The T.E.C.H.E. Project is a non-profit, volunteer organization whose members are passionate about making Bayou Teche a healthier waterway through action and education. A video explaining their Reviving Resilient Landscapes - Bankline Restoration Program can be found here:

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