Registering a new iris

Iris names


Names for British-bred rhizomatous irises are registered, via the BIS Registrar, with the American Iris Society, which is the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA).

Iris pseudocorus Lemon
Iris reticulata Halkis
Iris sibirica Melton Red Glare

APPLICATION FORMS can be downloaded here or supplied by the BIS Registrar, whose contact details are at the end of this section. Two copies are needed for each name, one to be forwarded to the AIS and the other retained for BIS records. Please write very clearly. It is recommended that breeders study the forms before the flowering season so that you can see what details are needed and make notes when the irises are in bloom.

Registration Form Download

NAMES It is essential to give alternative names as there are thousands already in use, and often someone else has already chosen the one you want. If you have the AIS Checklists please search them or ask the registrar to do so before you start filling in the form.

The AIS website has the iris register online but only for AIS e-members. You may not use the word ‘iris’ as part of a cultivar name even if it is a person’s name. If an iris is being named for a living person a letter of permission must be provided with the application; for a child, a parent must give permission, and the next of kin if the person has died within the past 10 years.

Don’t use names that are likely to be outdated, for example ‘Brightest Red’. In general names should follow the International Code for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants and the registrar can advise on this and other queries.

Names can be reserved before an iris is ready for registration. Fees must be paid when the reservation is requested but do not normally have to be paid again providing registration follows within three years. Ask the registrar for details.

CLASSIFICATIONS MiniatureDwarfBearded (MDB) up to 8in/20cm in height; Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB) 8-16in/21-41cm; Intermediate, Border and Miniature Tall Bearded (IB, BB, MTB) 16-27in/41-70cm; Tall Bearded (TB) over 27.5in/71cm; Siberian (SIB, diploid or tetraploid) or if 40-chromosome may be given as Sino-Siberian (SINO-SIB); Pacific Coast (CA); Louisiana (LA); Spuria (SPU); Japanese (JI, 3-fall, 6-fall or multipetal); Laevigatae (LAEV); Species (SPEC); Species hybrid (SPEC-X); Aril (AR); Arilbred (AB). SEASON OF BLOOM This, Early (E), Midseason (M) or Late (L), is given relative to other irises in the same class.

So an SDB and a JI may both be described as Early though they flower at very different times.

AVERAGE NUMBER OF BRANCHES The terminal counts as one branch, then add any others including a spur if present.

DESCRIPTIONS Please make these as full as possible. If you have access to a Colour Chart (RHS or other - please give the name) please add the codes to the words you use. Beards can be of more than one colour, e.g. at the bases and tips of the hairs or in the throat/centre/outer end.

'Tips' are the tops of the hairs while 'end' means the outermost part.

'Other characteristics' can include the angles at which parts are held, e.g. upright standards, horizontal falls.

PARENTAGE This should include seedlings (with their numbers if known) but as soon as a named variety is reached there is no need to go further.

PHOTOGRAPHS Registration cannot be considered complete until one or more photographs have been supplied to the BIS Photographic Library. Digital images emailed to the Photographic Librarian are preferred but prints or slides are acceptable and can be returned if requested (please enclose a stamp) but otherwise will be added to the Library and may be used in BIS publications though copyright will remain with the photographer.

Digital images should be circa 3mb. They should show the whole flower in colours which are as accurate as possible, if necessary with notes regarding any colours or details which are not as clear as is desirable.

Other shots, of a stem to show branching and of the plant as a whole, are welcome aids to identification.

The AIS is also requesting that digital photos are supplied when registrations are completed. They will be forwarded by the BIS Photographic Librarian providing the supplier has given permission via the BIS Registrar (there is a box to tick on the form) and/or Librarian.

This is a request, not a requirement, and if supplied the photos may be used in publications and other media by the AIS and related organisations, but the photographer will retain the copyright.

The AIS Image Co-ordinator would ideally like three shots – of the flower, a stem and a clump. The AIS fee is $10 for each name applied for and this must be to the BIS with the application for registration or reservation.

The BIS Treasurer and the Registrar will determine early each year what the sterling equivalent is expected to be for that year and that amount or any subsequent change will be notified via the website and the newsletter.

Currently the BIS fee for processing is £1.50 per name and the total amount for each name is £10.00. Fees should be paid as early as possible and no later than 31st July.

Please make cheques payable to the British Iris Society and send them with your applications.

Payments may be made by other means, e.g. Paypal, directly to the BIS Treasurer but please inform the Registrar. A PayPal button is given below for your convenience.

No. of iris names

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS Although registrations can be processed in the UK at any time, applications must be received by the AIS Registrar no later than 1 November or they will be held until the following year. This means they must reach the BIS Registrar by the end of September at the latest but preferably much earlier, ideally by the end of July so that processing can be completed in good time for the lists to be drafted for the Year Book.

Please bear these important dates in mind and send your application/s as early as possible.

INTRODUCTIONS It is important for the Registrars to know when British-bred irises are introduced, i.e. when they are FIRST offered for sale by a nursery in any country or via the BIS Sales List.

Printed proof is preferred though entries in The RHS Plant Finder may be sufficient. The BIS Registrar is very grateful to receive copies of catalogues or lists showing such introductions and asks registrants to arrange for them to be sent to her, or for the address of any nursery’s website where new introductions are advertised to be notified to her.

REGISTRATION OF BULBOUS IRISES This is carried out by the Royal Dutch Bulbgrowers’ Association (KAVB). There is information on the procedure on the KAVB website

It is no longer essential to provide bulbs for trial and the BIS Registrar will provide assistance if asked.


Trial on line form do not use unless agreed with Registrar

BIS Application to Register an Iris Name

  • Miniature Dwarf Bearded (MDB) up to 8in/20cm in height; Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB) 8-16in/21-41cm; Intermediate, Border and Miniature Tall Bearded (IB, BB, MTB) 16-27in/41-70cm; Tall Bearded (TB) over 27.5in/71cm; Siberian (SIB, diploid or tetraploid) or if 40-chromosome may be given as Sino-Siberian (SINO-SIB); Pacific Coast (CA); Louisiana (LA); Spuria (SPU); Japanese (JI, 3-fall, 6-fall or multipetal); Laevigatae (LAEV); Species (SPEC); Species hybrid (SPEC-X); Aril (AR); Arilbred (AB).
  • Additional information: for example, dip (diploid) or tet (tetraploid) for Siberian irises; clarification of species (SPEC or SPEC-X), number of falls (JI)
  • SEASON OF BLOOM is given relative to other irises in the same class - Early, Mid-season, Late or Very late. E-M, M-L and L-VL indicate longer blooming periods spanning the seasons; EM or ML a shorter part of a season. E-M-L indicates blooming either continuously or sporadically over the whole season for that class of iris.
  • Please click in the box to add or remove options
  • If you can upload a file showing your cultivar's family tree please do so below. If not please itemise the pod and pollen parents, with their parents and grand parents here.
  • Max. file size: 256 MB.
  • Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 256 MB, Max. files: 5.
      By supplying images you give permission for their use by the BIS in appropriate media and for them to be forwarded to the AIS. Copyright remains with the photographer



    BIS Registrar

    Mrs Rachel Wilcox

    10 Highfield Close, Amersham, Bucks HP6 6HG

    01494 581375


    BIS Photographic Librarian


    Anne Milner