Photo By Richard Richards
Sierra Sapphire, introduced by Dr. Lee Lenz of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, is pure Munz's iris. It received the American Iris Society's Sidney B. Mitchell Medal in 1977 for the year's most outstanding Pacifica iris.
Sierra Sapphire was created by using pollen collected from an especially attractive plant at Coffee Camp in Tulare County to fertilize an Iris munzii flower already growing at the garden. Later experience suggested the intense blue color only appeared in flowers that bloomed during periods of hot weather. Under cooler conditions, the normal flower colors of wild Iris munzii predominate. For more on this, see Richard Richard's article in the SPCNI Almanac, Fall 2001.