Honorabile-San Souci

Lémon, 1840
Iris Class:
Bearded Class:
Intermediate Bearded
Before 1900
Fall Color:
Standard Color:
Beard Color:
Orange/Deep Yellow
Common Garden Variety

Full Description


From N.A. Hallauer’s Select List for 1918: “Honorabilis (Syn. Sans Souci) — S. Golden yellow; F. Rich mahogany. 18 in.”

From Biltmore Nursery catalog for 1912: “The falls have a rich, solid color resembling that of old mahogany, while the upright petals are golden, making a most effective combination.”

From Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, 1925: “Color effect, a yellow, red-brown bicolor. S. light cadmium yellow. F. mahogany red on bronzed yellow ground, flecked deeper.
The color is lighter along the dense, orange beard. The coloring in the falls is less intense and solid in some seasons, while in others it becomes so intense that it is almost velvety. The plant is a vigorous grower, producing many small to fair-sized flowers. It is a very old sort, found in most early plantings and masqueraded under many names. The most common synonyms are Sans Souci, Brilliant, and Rebecca. The newer variety, Fro, is much preferred today, tho many still retain Honorabile for it color contrasts and its historic past. Rating is to low at 40.”

From the 1939 Check List: “Mixed with Sans Souci but distinctly lighter.”

Note: The previous photos of Honorabile have been removed in light of the research done by Clarence Mahan, presented in his book Classic Irises, and the Men and Women Who Created Them. His findings are that the varieties being grown in the US as Honorabile are in actuality Sans Souci. The true Honorabile should have solid mahogany falls, not washed with color as Sans Souci shows. Please see the article in our Library titled The Iris that Lost Its Name for more information on Mr. Mahan’s research.
Note: The above is the theory of Clarence Mahan, but  is not undisputed fact. Many still believe that the iris alleged to be San Souci is really Honorabile. HIPS has not made an official determination on this controversy. My personal opinion(webmaster LM) is that these are basically the same  cultivar, aka sports , that one had lighter falls and one darker, that the range of Honorabile – San Souci  includes these variations of fall color intensity. See the photo of San Souci from the earliest HIPS slide collection where both San Souci and Honorabile have separate slides

For information on this family of sports, and other Historic irises with erratic descendants, please refer to Jean Witt’s article Notes on Honorabile in our library under Irises of Note, with an attached note by Mahan.

See also Brown’s Mutant, Joseph’s Coat Katkamier, Sans Souci, and Sherwin-Wright.