Species Iris Group of North America

What's An Iris? What's SIGNA? Seed Exchange
Publications* Species Database Spec-X IOTM

The SIGNA Seed Exchange is a major benefit of membership. It is also the main fund raiser for SIGNA. The proceeds go toward the publication of our SIGNA Journal and help to sponsor collecting trips, special publications, and research grants.

SIGNA: Species Iris Group of North America
Annual Seed Exchange

Greetings from the Seed Exchange Chair.

The Seed Exchange is the heart of SIGNA. It is our major fundraiser and supports the publication of our newsletter and other projects. Please remember to hand-pollinate or collect wild seed for next year’s exchange. Special thanks to Dennis Kramb for managing the online ordering system, and to all our donors who make the Seed Exchange possible.

Online ordering is fastest and easily allows you to pay through PayPal. We prefer this method, however you can also print out a paper copy and mail it in with your payment to the address below.

Seeds from the current list are only available to members of SIGNA. Seed from previous years may be purchased by both members and non-members. Please place your orders by April 1st. After that time, orders should be placed from Surplus Seed. 2019 - 2021 surplus seed can currently be ordered along with new seed at no additional shipping cost.

Orders are filled in the order received. Only one packet of each entry in the list may be ordered at once, but you may place multiple orders. As has been occasionally done in previous years, donors’ orders will be filled first as an incentive to donate. Please don’t place multiple orders to get around the limit of one packet per order.

Please mark substitutes in case your first choices are sold out. If placing a late order, you will need to choose a greater number of substitutes.

MEMBERS ONLY: Non-members may order by joining SIGNA – please include payment for at least a one year membership. If you are already a member and wish to pay your dues, you may do so along with your seed order with one check, or by PayPal with your online order.

PRICE: $1 per packet of seed, plus $5.00 per order for shipping and handling to U.S. addresses. Shipping to Canada is $16.00, and for all other countries is $19.00. As usual shipping costs have increased.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: Orders will be sent with correct customs info, but without a phytosanitary certificate. Very few orders last year were rejected by customs this way, even to Australia and the UK.

PAYMENT: If not using the online system, members in the U.S. may enclose a check or money order made payable to “SIGNA”. Foreign members may use U.S. currency, an international money order or a draft on a U.S. bank. Anyone may also “send cash” to SIGNASeedEx.com via PayPal.

REFUNDS: Refunds are not available. If we cannot fill your order and you have not marked enough substitutes, the remaining amount will be considered a donation to SIGNA. PLEASE mark substitutes!

DONATIONS: You may donate to SIGNA via any payment method above. Round up your seed order to the nearest $5 or $10, or add any amount you wish to an order. Costs of supplies and shipping are always rising and your help is greatly appreciated!

SEED LIST INFO: Each variety has a code that indicates year of the list, an alphabet code for the kind of iris and a three digit serial number such as 14TB021. All seeds in this year's list have the prefix "14". The list is divided into 6 sections. The alphabetic code is as follows:

  I. Bearded:    Dwarf             DB
                 Median            MB
                 Tall              TB
                 Arillate          AR

 II. Crested/ Lophiris:            CR

III. Beardless:  Chinenses         CH
                 Foetidissimae     FT
                 Laevigate         LV
                 Laevig. Hybrids   LH
                 Pacific Coast     PC
                 Hexagonae         LA
                 Siberian          SB
                 Spuria            SP
                 Tripetalae        TR
                 Misc Beardless    MS

 IV. Bulbous:    Xiphium           XP
                 Reticulate        RT
                 Scorpiris         JU
                 Nepalensis        NP

  V. Wide Crosses:                 SX
 VI. Other Iridaceae:              XX
Arilbreds are listed in Section I rather than V.

ABBREVIATIONS: Abbreviations following the name: HP means Hand Pollinated, OP means Open Pollinated, WC means Wild Collected, and ex. indicates that the seeds were originally from another specific source (such as a person, a seed exchange, wild location, named cultivar, or a garden). Seeds of named cultivars ARE NOT identical to their parents and should never be given that name in the garden. They are new seedlings. Colors are abbreviated using English names.

AVAILABLE SEEDS: After each item in the seed list, you will find an abbreviation estimating the total number of seeds available.
    VF = Very Few Seeds (less than 25) available. These will sell out quickly. There may be as few as 1 packet of seed, but no more than six packets. If you place your order late, PLEASE do not order these items.
    FW = Few seeds (under 50) available. Be sure to check substitutes when ordering seeds marked VF or FW. Seeds in short supply may have as few as 4 seeds per packet and they will not be used as substitutes.
    AV = Available. This means that seeds are generally available and most orders will be filled. Packets may have between 5 and 10 seeds.
    AB = Abundant. Seeds are in abundant supply, are less likely to sell out and will have more generous number of seeds per packets. If you want items with more seeds per packet, order items in abundant supply. We DO NOT send more than one packet per listing per order. We do accept 2nd and 3rd orders, but these are filled in the order received to give all orders more equal chances. Most seed packets will have 10 or more seeds each.
Please list substitutes on all orders.

REFERENCES: "The Iris" by Brian Mathew, "Iris of China" by James Waddick and Zhao Yu-tang, "The World of Iridaceae" by Clive Innes and the SIGNA Checklists are used to verify names. In a few instances, we have included names that we were unable to verify. You should also consult the SIGNA Species Database. There you can view information and photos of flowers, plants and seeds. Correct seed identification is not guaranteed, but based on information supplied by donors. The AIS Iris Encyclopedia is also a useful source of information on names: http://wiki.irises.org/bin/view


THE SEED CHAIR: Send seed donations & payments to:
    Sean Zera
    5635 Thomas Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48108-9758
    cell ph 734-417-7264
ALL SEEDS: Seeds of any Iris species or member of the Family Iridaceae are welcome. Even the most common and abundant species are welcome and appreciated. Hand-pollinated, wild collected and uncommon species are especially sought after. All seeds are requested. There are multiple requests for each and every one of the donations. Be sure seeds are fully dry before packing. Please read about restricted seeds on the Ordering Seeds page.

QUANTITY: 100 to 1000 seeds are ideal, but any number is welcome. Even if you only have one packet of seed to send, please do. They are greatly appreciated. Small paper envelopes are the preferred method for packaging seed. Please do not use film canisters, small boxes, etc. as they are difficult to organize.

LABELING: Mark each envelope clearly and legibly with the correct name. If it is a named cultivar, please provide the species name or hybrid group to which it belongs. If it is from hand pollination, mark it HP; if it is wild collected, mark it WC and give the town, county, state, country and elevation if known; if it is from plants growing in your garden that were wild collected, write "ex." then give the above information; if it is grown from seed received from someone else or a seed exchange (SIGNA, BIS, NARGS), so indicate. Try to give a brief two to four word description, especially if there are any unique characteristics. Seeds with clear descriptions are always more popular. Be sure to include your name and address. PLEASE GIVE AN ESTIMATED SEED COUNT on every packet.

HAND POLLINATED: PLEASE try to hand-pollinate the species in your garden specifically for the Seed Exchange, either by using two clones of the same species or by selfing. Hand pollination (HP) assures that a particular species will come true from seed. This is especially important for those species that readily cross with other species (e.g. bearded, aril, siberian, PCN, LA, spuria, etc.). This is the only way to preserve these true species!

WILD COLLECTED: Many of us live near an area where irises grow wild. Wild collected seed (WC) is extremely popular and the best way to insure genetic diversity. If you know an area where irises grow wild, please make a trip to collect seed from as many plants as possible. Even if a widespread species, we have many members who would like to grow seeds of your native iris.

DATES: All seeds should be post marked no later than November 1. For later ripening seed please send a list and brief description of each by the above date, so they may be included. These late ripening seeds must be received no later than December 31. Seeds received after this may be used as extras or held over till next year.

FEED BACK: Donating seeds in fun, but takes some effort. Our donors would appreciate your feed back on how their donated seeds performed. If they were misnamed let them and us know. Mostly show your appreciation by dropping a note and telling them your experience and thanks, too.

FOREIGN DONORS: For all donors outside of the United States, please send seed to the seed chairmen at the above address and email in advance for the current regulations regarding import of seed into the US. Foreign donors should send seeds no later than October 15 to allow time for proper handling and postal inspections. We will provide detailed info on import and documentation to insure safe and legal transfer of seeds.

LEGAL RESTRICTIONS Iris pseudacorus and some Moraea and Watsonia species are prohibited in parts of North America.
  • Iris pseudacorus is a "noxious weed". Some states and provinces treat it like a non-ornamental weed where you must by law eradicate it on land you own: California, Montana, Washington, Alberta, British Columbia.
  • Others treat it like an invasive ornamental where it is illegal to sell or propagate it: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont. In Connecticut it is specifically illegal to cultivate and existing plants must be destroyed.
  • In Minnesota it is legal to buy and sell, but is a "regulated invasive" that is illegal to release into the wild.
  • These laws should be assumed to include all cultivars, varieties and hybrids, and to ban trades and gifts as well as outright sale. Massachusetts clearly prohibits all of the above, while Connecticut allows hybrids unless specifically banned.
  • Few other irids are currently considered noxious weeds. The US bans Moraea collina, M. flaccida, M. miniata, M. ochroleuca and M. pallida (all formerly Homeria spp.) without a permit. California prohibits Watsonia meriana v. bulbillifera.

© 2024, SIGNA. For general inquiries about SIGNA please contact Rodney Barton. Please report technical problems to dkramb@gmail.com.
* Some important new updates were added January 2024 indicated by the asterisk in the header. Please check them out!