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How to register and introduce an iris
These instructions apply to the registration of all classes of irises except bulbous irises.

Registration:

1. Write to the AIS Registrar, Keith Keppel, P.O. Box 18154, Salem, OR 97305, for a registration blank, enclosing check for the registration fee payable to the American Iris Society. The fee is $7.50 per registration or $10.00 if transferring a name from a previous registration.

2. At the same time, select a name, which has not previously been used, and submit it for approval. To determine availability of a name, please refer to all ten-year checklists (beginning 1939) and annual Registrations and Introductions booklet (beginning 1990). Please also suggest alternate names. A name is not registered until the registration application has been completed and approved and a certificate of registration returned to you.

3. Names should follow the rules established by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. Rules are subject to change, but at the present time the following names will not be permitted;
a. Names of living persons without their written consent or names of recently (10 years) deceased persons without permission of next of kin or other authority.
b. Personal names containing the following forms of address or their equivalent in another language: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.
c. Names including symbols, numerals, non-essential punctuation or abbreviations.
d. Names beginning with the articles “a” or “the” or their equivalent in other languages unless required by linguistic custom.
e. Names in Latin or in latinized form.
f. Slight variation of a previously registered name.
g. Names in excess of three words, ten syllables, or thirty letters.
h. Names containing the word “iris” or “flag” or the species name of any recognized species of Iris, or formed wholly by recombining puts of the parental species’ names.’
i. Names containing the hybridizer’s name in possessive form.
j. Names which exaggerate or may become inaccurate (e.g. Heaviest Lace, Tallest Black), or which are composed solely of adjectives which could be construed as a simple description (e.g. Pale Blue, Ruffled).
k.Names translated from the original language; they should be transliterated as necessary.

4. Previously registered names may be re-used only if (a) the original registration has not been introduced or distributed by name, (b) does not appear by name in the parentage of later registrations, and (c) a statement of permission is obtained from the prior registrant 

5. Names will not be released as obsolete unless there is proof that no stock now exists and that the iris was not listed as a parent in registrations.

Introduction: (defined)

Introduction is the offering for sale to the public. Catalogs, printed lists and advertisements in the American Iris Society Bulletin are acceptable means of introduction.  It (introduction) is a requisite of awards of the Society above that of High Commendation. A variety is not eligible for listing on the awards ballot until after it has been recorded as introduced by the Registrar-Recorder. Send the Registrar a copy of your list, catalog or advertisement by first class mail so verification of introduction can be made.  The Registrar will supply a sample application form upon receipt of a stamped self-addressed envelope. 
 

Addedum: Revision, from January 1998 AIS Bulletin:

At the fall Board meeting it was voted to decrease the time that paid reserved names will be held, from the present five-year limit to three years.

Starting with the 1998 registrations year (December 1, 1997 ­ November 30, 1998), names paid will be held for a maximum of four years; names paid December 1, 1998, or later will be held for three years.

The full five-year reservation period will be maintained for all reserved names which had been paid prior to December 1, 1997. As before, at the end of the reservation period it is possible to reserve the name for an additional period of time upon payment of the $7.50 registration fee. Once the registration application form has been submitted and the registration certificate issued, no further action is required of the hybridizer, other than notifying the registrar if/when the iris is introduced. There is only one fee: the $7.50 charge for clearing the name includes the eventual registration and recording of introduction.

Since approximately 99% of registrations currently completed use names reserved within the three-year period, we anticipate no major inconvenience to registrants.

And further:

Question: Is the only acknowledged registry for irises the AIS?...If I happened to be from any other part of the world, would it be necessary to register my cvs with a US organization to have them accepted?

Answer:  The American Iris Society (AIS) is the recognized INTERNATIONAL registering agency for the genus Iris. There are other international registrars for other plants.

The process of registration of an iris, or any other plant, is a critically important activity which ensures that names and plant descriptions are recorded in consistent forms. The overall purpose is to ensure that the plant and its name is described, documented, and published according to the scientific criteria of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature--for species--or the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants-- for man-made hybrids or plants used in horticulture, forestry, agriculture and so forth. Thus the process of registration, while is benefits the gardener, is actually a scientific activity. The scientific activity of recording the existence and the name of a new plant, or a newly discovered plant, and scrupulous rules exist to keep order in nomenclature where otherwise there might be utter chaos and no possibility of communication among scientists, or other interested parties.

We as gardeners see only one aspect of the registration process, but it behooves us to recall at all times that the responsibility that AIS bears in this role of international registrar is critically important. When we see someone offering to sell us unregistered plants we should realize that these people do not support the international system that effects precise communication and accurate scientific descriptions. This says a lot.

When someone persists in selling something for which there is no recorded official description which stands as a measure of the plant, well, you have to ask yourself if they just don't care, or whether they are trying to create a legal ambiguity which they may then proceed to exploit as necessary.

Having a registered name will not ensure that the plant will survive. Not having a registered name will not guarantee it will die. But only when you have a name recognized and registered by AIS, do you have an iris with any name at all.

Answer courtesy of: Anner Whitehead, Richmond,VA by way of the Iris-Talk e-mail discussion group on irises.