Deciphering AIS Registrations

The American Iris Society Checklists are one of the most important resources available to “serious” iris growers. The checklists provide details about officially named irises. A Registrations & Introductions (RNI) checklist booklet is published each year with that year’s introductions; a hard-bound book of the previous 10 years of checklists is published each decade. There is also an online version that contains the majority registrations in a single database with simple search options.

For example, if ‘Redrock Princess’ is looked up, this is what you see:

REDROCK PRINCESS
(Jean Witt, R. 2003). Sdlg. 93-02-P4. MTB, 22" (56 cm), L.
S. medium brown; style arms tan orange; F. rose red, striped, outer half solid velvety red; beards orange; lightly ruffled; slight fragrance. 73-02-KA rust, Spanish Coins sib, X 70-06-GR red: ((Golden Light x Pluie d'Or) x ("Ruby Roundfall" x I. reginae)). Aitken 2006.

At first glance, this information can seem confusing and a bit intimidating. It’s simply a “secret code” that provides important details about each hybrid. The following is a break-down of the “secret code”:
Cultivar Name: Redrock Princess
Hybridizer: Jean Witt
Year of registration: 2003
Seedling number (optional): Sdlg. 93-02-P4
Iris classification: MTB
Height: 22" (56 cm)
Bloom season: L (late)
Description: S. (standards) medium brown; style arms tan orange; F. (falls) rose red, striped, outer half solid velvety red; beards orange; lightly ruffled; slight fragrance.
Parentage: 73-02-KA (a hybridizer’s seedling ID) rust, Spanish Coins sib, X 70-06-GR red: ((Golden Light x Pluie d'Or) x ("Ruby Roundfall" x I. reginae)).
Introducer: Aitken, and date of introduction: 2006.
Honors/Medals: Follow after Introducer if any have been awarded.

Checklist descriptions often have very specific color references. For example, (RHS 158D) or (M&P 44-H/1-5) might be color references. RHS is an acronym for ‘Royal Horticultural Society’. The RHS color charts are readily available through several resources. M&P refers to A Dictionary of Color, by Maerz and Paul. Last published in 1950, it is not a readily available resource.