Luminata-Fancy in the Altogether

Median Iris Society's Genetics Study Panel; Bee Warburton, Chairman; Fred Megson, John Tearington, Jean Witt
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The MOONLIT SEA type pattern, which has been called and mis-called by a variety of names, has not in the past even been correctly described, let alone classified. The Median Iris Section's Genetics Panel, which has collaborated in preparation of this study, has spent almost three years in considering its various aspects, both its appearance and its genetic makeup, and has concluded that none of the definitions offered or in use in the past accurately describes this pattern. Therefore, the Panel has selected from a number of proposed terms for the pattern, one that seemed best: to describe its appearance; to acknowledge the variety which has most often been cited as its "type"-- MOONLIT SEA; and to consort well with the name of its companion pattern, PLICATA. The Panel has adopted the name "LUMINATA." It will henceforth be used in our communications and in the reports of our work which we submit for publication, and we hope that it will find general acceptance.
....The definition of luminata as worked out by the Panel reads, "Luminata is a genetically reproducible anthocyanin pattern having its color present in an irregular marbling in the central areas of the petals and absent in the peripheral areas. The marbling effect is produced by non-anthocyanin veining (white or yellow), and there is no anthocyanin in the hafts, the stylearms or the beard." It is the pale, or "lighted" effect at the heart of the luminata variety that gives the name its validity. It is a pattern quite distinct from one which has the marbling overlaid with the etching or dotting of the plicata pattern, a combination type from which it has not been adequately distinguished in terminology, color classification, or genetic analysis.
....The various terms which have been in use or have been proposed are all either vague and confused, or are based upon what we consider to be misconceptions. Those we have evaluated, in the order in which they were suggested, are 1) picotee; 2) fancy, or fancy-plicata; 3) weirdie; 4) MOONLIT SEA type plicata; and 5) Havelberg pattern.
....1) PICOTEE. This term was mentioned but not formally proposed by Charles Gersdorff in BAIS .(BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN IRIS SOCIETY) 91:52, "BERTHA GERSDORFF is . . . a distinct pink and yellow that is neither a plicata nor a variegata as we know these; rather it is of a type which I would like to see classified as 'picotee.' The blue and yellow of the same pattern is MOONLIT SEA, I believe." In the nearly 30 years since this suggestion was put into the American Iris Society's records by Gersdorff, it seems not to have attained any degree of acceptance. Actually, the term "picotee" has a double meaning, neither of which applies to our type. One is of an edge with picots, or points; the other is applied to carnations with an edging of different color, usually red. This could not be taken as applying to the luminatas.
....2) FANCY, or FANCY-PLICATA. This term was first used by Sidney Mitchell ("Playing with Plicatas," BAIS .106:13), who had this to say: "DEMI-DEUIL . . . was an odd purple on white suffused in a broken pattern, an early example of a type for which I have suggested the name 'fancy', following the precedent of the English carnation raisers." How Mitchell actually visualized the fancy pattern is unclear, and it is quite certain that he included in the term a number of manifestations of atypical plicatas which do not belong in the same category at all. His use of DEMI-DEUIL (see photograph by Jean Witt in BAIS .200: 40) as a type or example, rules the term out for the MOONLIT SEA type. Later the terms "fancy" or "fancy-plicata" were used indiscriminately for clean and for plicata marked patterns of the type, and indeed the term "fancy" itself was seldom used without "plicata" appended. Actually, "fancy" is a good English word for having "an extravagant, odd, or whimsical image," and many iris patterns could qualify. At any rate, the records are loaded with confused meanings and it is too late to clarify the terms and reserve it for the type we are discussing.
....3) WEIRDIE. This term apparently was first used by C. G. White in his own garden. To quote Mitchell again from the BAIS .plicata issue of 1947, which is a gold mine of scarce information: "Mr. White also has some lovely 'fancies' and some strange things he calls 'weirdies.'" The term was adopted by Tom Craig for garden use, and Wilma Vallette also used it in her book Iris Culture and Hybridizing for Everyone, p. 323: ". . . as common as anything in fancies is one that looks like an ordinary plicata, over whose falls an almost dry brush loaded with anthocyanin color had been dragged, to produce striations that are usually a little lighter than the stitching at the edge, with the hafts always having typical plicata markings in an even darker or somewhat contrasting color." "Weirdies differ in that the hafts are clean with few or no plicata markings, and the clean part may extend around the beard onto the upper part of the falls, as in PRETTY PANSY. Falls may or may not have stitching Here the underlining is ours-this description rules out this term for the luminata pattern, which never has stitching.
....4) MOONLIT SEA TYPE OF PLICATA. This expression was used by Professor Randolph in Garden Irises, p. 353, to designate the luminata pattern because he believed it to be the result of an allele of plicata. As a pattern type, MOONLIT SEA has a long precedence in the literature even though it was preceded by BERTHA GERSDORFF in registration. It is a little unfortunate that the variety usually thought of as the type has a partly yellow ground. The variety ALADDIN'S WISH (Murawska '43) would be more appropriate because it is blue and white, and it has been far more often pictured in catalogs, but MOONLIT SEA has the advantage of a beautiful name.
....5) HAVELBERG PATTERN. This term was used by Dr. Werckmeister (BAIS 200: 7, January 1971), who informs us that the variety HAVELBERG, which was registered with AIS in 1959, originated in Germany before the war and hence may antedate the Sass varieties, of which BERTHA GERSDORFF was registered in 1941 and MOONLIT SEA in 1942. Dr. Werckmeister believes that the gene for this pattern is at a separate locus from that of the plicata gene.

Genetic Analysis

Plicatas. Whether the plicata gene is a structural gene for anthocyanin pigment, or is some kind of "distributor" gene (see also the discussion by Alice Atchison, BAIS 200:23-26), has not been established. It is now generally accepted, however, that the plicata pattern is controlled by a single gene which consists of at least three alleles, Pl, pl and pla.
....Luminatas. A. H. Sturtevant (BAIS 123:99-100) surmised "that the pattern found in such varieties as MOONLIT SEA, ALADDIN'S WISH, or WEIRDIE represents still another member of the pl series of alleles, in which the anthocyanin is removed from the bases of the petals but left as streaks in the blades." This suggestion was repeated by Randolph and Sturtevant (Garden Irises, p. 353) where some examples were provided of crosses segregating both plicatas and luminatas. Dr. Werckmeister (BAIS .200:7-12) has reported, without providing details, that crossing the luminata HAVELBERG either with plicatas or with pla whites gave some luminatas. Most recently Wilma Vallette (BAIS .202: 95-99), also without giving specific progeny data, has reported that crossing the luminatas MOONLIT SEA and MOONLIGHT MIDNIGHT with the pla white JAKE gave chiefly luminatas. On the basis of these reports it seems reasonable that the plicata and luminata patterns are not products of two different genes, but are due to two different alleles of the same gene-pl and pllu.
....Luminata-plicatas. Is the order of dominance of these alleles Pl, pllu, pl, pla or is it Pl, pl, pllu, pla? When we first noted that combinations of "washed, brushed, marbled," etc., as the effects of the luminata pattern have been described, with the "etching, stitching or dotting" of the plicata pattern, could be broken apart and segregated as pure or "naked fancies" (the "fancy in the altogether" of our title) and conventionally marked plicatas, our thought was that we indeed had two separate loci. We believe now, however, that the best explanation for the available data is that there is no dominance between the pl and the pllu alleles. (Such codominant alleles are not uncommon-most of us owe our blood types to them as A-, B-, or AB.) The effect of the plicata and luminata alleles together therefore appears to be an additive one in which the plicata markings can be seen in the "lighted" area of the luminata. The combination has been variously called "fancy plicata" and "fancy" (adding further to the confusion of their use for the pure luminata pattern as noted above). Sturtevant (loc. cit.) noted that "Fancies appear to carry both this allele [MOONLIT SEA type] and the usual pl of ordinary plicatas . . ." We now propose to call this combination pattern "luminata-plicata" or more simply "lumi-plicata."
....It is remarkable that, in general, the luminata pattern tends to appear in just those areas of the flower where the plicata pattern does not show. Hence in crosses of luminatas with plicatas where both parents have appreciable white areas the offspring usually show both patterns together as typical lumi-plicatas. The Panel's chairman has observed, however, that when the parents have very strong patterns, some of the resulting lumi-plicatas have so much color it is difficult or impossible to determine by eye whether they are very strong lumi-plicatas or solids (selfs).
....Using the above considerations alone it is now possible for the first time to take up Professor Randolph's challenge (Garden Irises, p.353) to write reasonable genotypes for the parents and offspring of the three complex luminata-plicata crosses be described. This gives us some confidence that the plicata problem will eventually be solved, but many more carefully undertaken and recorded crosses are needed.


Color Classification and Varieties of Luminata

Because of lack of adequate description and indiscriminate use of the terms "fancy," and "fancy plicata," it has been difficult to separate out the pure luminatas, either in the registrations or in catalogs. The only place we have been able to find a specific distinction is in some of the California show schedules, and perhaps too few of the luminata type have been entered in shows elsewhere to be given separate classes. They are so rare in gardens that it would be almost impossible for one person to examine them all except by acquiring and growing them, and even to find sources for plants to grow is difficult. The following varieties have been screened by the Panel and to the best of our knowledge, they are pure luminatas on either white or yellow ground.

ALADDIN'S WISH (Murawska '43). W1 (white self). "White brushed brilliant blue."
AMITY (Corey '44). W2L (white plicata). "White brushed with violet-blue."
BERTHA GERSDORFF (Sass '41). Y9L (yellow bicolor) "S yellow slightly flushed pink, F .yellow heavily flushed purple."
CAN CAN (Tom Craig '51). Y2 (yellow plicata) "Fancy plicata-variegata with violet and orchid collar radiating downward from throat."
CARNIVAL LIGHTS (Sass '53). YS (blend) "Yellow ground heavily flushed brown with unmarked hafts giving yellow glow through center."
CHLOE INEZ (Plough '56). V2 (violet plicata) "Fancy type, amethyst violet with white hafts, throat, styles."
CUBA LIBRE (Plough '56). V2 (violet plicata) "Fancy plicata, S pansy-violet, F plum-purple, clean yellow shoulders and throat."
CUBAN CARNIVAL (Sass '48). S7D (dark blended self) "Stark bare yellow shoulders and vivid red brushings."
DARK CLOUD (Vallette '59). V2D (dark violet plicata) "Similar to Pretty Pansy."
DEAR DORA (El Dorado '60). W2V (violet on white plicata) "White overlaid cobalt blue, white beard and styles."
FAIRY FANCY (Sass '53). W2 (blue plicata) Described as white heavily flushed violet-purple.
FANCY FLARE (Austin '55). RV4 (red-violet bicolor) but described by Austin as deep amethyst daintily brushed in white. This is a rare observation that the markings are white.
FANCY FRILLS (Austin '55). RV4 (red-violet bicolor) "S light pinkish orchid flushed white at the base. F light heliotrope with strong white area at end of the very white beard and radiating white lines extending out to the edge of the falls."
GHOSTIE (Craig '49). W2 (blue on white plicata) Classed by Vallette as "weirdie."
GLOWING AMBER (Craig '53). Os (orange blend) "Golden amber with burnt umber and sepia overglaze in smoky radiating pattern."
HAVELBERG (Schwarz '59) W2 (blue on white plicata)-given by Werckmeister as the "type" for the luminata pattern.
HAVELSEE (Werckmeister '66). W2B (blue on white plicata) Described as white, blue-powdered. (See photograph BAIS 200: 11)
LUCKY STRIKE (M. Walker '48). 59M (bitone or bicolor blend). MAY SKY (Sass '55). W2 (blue on white plicata) "Fancy plicata, white and violet."
MOONLIGHT MIDNIGHT (Vallette '58). W2 (plicata on white) "Deep red-purple fancy plicata, yellow hafts . . . all petals edged lemon."
MOONLIT SEA (Sass '42). W8D (white feathered dark) "Medium blue with white veining throughout. Haft white edged with a band of yellow." To quote here an example of the controversy that raged in respect to all plicatas, and particularly this new pattern, Franklin Cook raved in BAIS 87:35, "A rich indigo blue with a gold heart, a really solid gold haft, stylearms and beard, with no reticulations of bronze nor any blending . . . no iris has struck me in years as being so distinctly different and so exquisitely desirable. . . Appropriately named, it IS like a golden moon shining right through the middle of a dark blue sea. There is no other iris remotely near its coloring . . ." A few years later, in BAIS 109:19, it was named among a list of examples of "poorest coloring," victim of a then current bias against all patterns.
MULBERRY SNOW (Austin '55). VR4 (violet-red bicolor) "Falls have large prominent white blaze at top of each fall below which they are intensely mulberry indistinctly lined in white in a fancy pattern."
PRETTY PANSY (Sass '46). B2M (medium blue plicata) Serlena Reynolds' first reaction (BAIS 116:25) was, "It really is a beautiful combination of pansy blue and white," but pictures indicate that it is blue and yellow.
SALEM LASS (Olson '54). RV1D (dark red-violet self) but as Dr. Werckmeister pointed out, has the tell-tale white area around the lemon-yellow beard, and white edging. Its parentage is all luminata.
WEIRDIE (Craig '49). W8L (light feathered red-toned on white) Craig says, Falls bright purplish-crimson set off by intense yellow hafts changing gradually to white around end of beard. S pale yellow flushed light rosy lilac."
WISH AGAIN (Muhlestein '52). W2 (blue on white plic) From pure luminata breeding, described as white background heavily brushed purple.
Note that the AIS color classification was changed in 1949 and this is why we have spelled out the color coding. The descriptions are mostly quoted from catalogs or the registrations. It is obvious without much study that coding of the varieties of this pattern was a haphazard matter which never followed any consistent rule. A luminata is quite different in appearance from a plicata, and would never be classed as one if its source were not known. It is perhaps the most distinct of all iris patterns, and this distinctiveness, along with that of its companion plicata, gives it great value for studying iris genetics. For its own sake it deserves a place in our gardens and a niche of its own for registration and for show classing. It also deserves a name of its own, and the Panel feels that the one we have chosen, luminata, is both distinct and attractive.