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THE SPECIES PROBLEM IN IRIS EDGAR ANDERSON Geneticist to the Missouri Botanical GardenProfessor of Botany in the Henry Shaw School of Botany of Washington University I. INTRODUCTION As a biological phenomenon the species problem is worthy ofserious study as an end in itself, and not as a mere corollary towork in some other field. It is, to be sure, a problem so funda-mentally important that it touches many such fields. Workersin any one of these are humanly prone to regard the evidencefrom that field as all important and its techniques as all suffi-cient (particularly if they are themselves unacquainted withother aspects of the problem). When, however, one takes up theproblem, as a problem, and studies it from the diverse view-points of genetics, taxonomy, cytology, and biometry, he real-izes that he not only needs most of the existing techniques butthat he must devise new ones as well. Iris versicolor and Iris virginica were chosen for such astudy since they customarily grow in colonies containing manyindividual plants; a peculiarity which facilitates the locationand study of large numbers of individuals. A preliminaryanalysis of the problem ('28) and a discussion of certain pointsconnected with the distribution of these species ('33) havealready appeared. The following series of papers constitutesa final comprehensive report. The central core of informationis an analysis of a precise morphological census of the twospecies (section IV). For the interpretation of this morpho-logical data it has been necessary to undertake correlatedinvestigations in cytology, taxonomy, glacial geology, and ge-netics. A technical taxonomic treatment of these irises, to-gether with the related Iris setosa, is assembled in sectionII, although material indirectly of taxonomic interest will befound in sections III and V. The phylogenetic relationship ofIris versicolor to Iris virginica has proved to be somewhat ex-ANN. Mo. BOT. GARD., VOL. 23, 1936.(457)



The Species Problem in Iris

Edgar Anderson
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 23: 457-509 (1936)

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