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: https://www.louisianas.org/.../Preservation_of_five...