Iris graminea

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Iris graminea
Iridaceae - Iris graminea.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Spuriae
Species: I. graminea
Binomial name
Iris graminea
  • Chamaeiris graminea (L.) Medik.
  • Xiphion gramineum (L.) Schrank, Flora 7(2 Beibl.): 17 (1824).
  • Limniris graminea (L.) Fuss, Fl. Transsilv.: 637 (1866).
  • Xyridion gramineum (L.) Klatt, Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 30: 500 (1872).
  • Iris compressa Moench, Methodus: 529 (1794), nom. Illeg.
  • Iris suavis Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 44 (1796).
  • Iris sylvatica Balb. ex Roem. & Schult., Syst. Veg. 1: 476 (1817).
  • Iris adamii Willd. ex Link, Jahrb. Gewächsk. 1(3): 72 (1820).
  • Iris bayonnensis Gren. & Godr., Fl. France 3: 243 (1855).
  • Iris pseudocyperus Schur, Enum. Pl. Transsilv.: 657 (1866).
  • Iris pseudograminea Schur, Enum. Pl. Transsilv.: 928 (1866).
  • Iris lamprophylla Lange, Bot. Tidsskr. 13: 17 (1882).
  • Iris nikitensis Lange, Bot. Tidsskr. 13: 17 (1882).
  • Xiphion collinum N.Terracc.
  • Xiphion gramineum subsp. gramineum (L.) Schrank
  • Xiphion gramineum subsp. silvaticum (Balb.) Arcang.[1]

Iris graminea,is a species in the genus Iris, it is also in the subgenus of Limniris and in the Series Spuriae. It is a rhizomatous perennial, with purple or violet blue flowers almost hidden by grass like narrow leaves, and a plum scented fragrance. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions. It has several common names, including Grass-Leaved Flag,Grass leaved Iris, Plum Iris and Plum tart Iris (because of the scent). This species is native to temperate areas of Central and Southern Europe. with a distribution ranging from Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia to the Caucasus (mountains) in Asia.


It has slender,[2] short, hard rhizomes.[3][4][5][6] They can have many branches creating dense tufts, clumps or tussocks of plants.[4][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

It has narrow grass-like foliage.[5][7][8][11][13][15][16][17][18][19][20] They can grow up to between 30–100 cm (12–39 in) long and 0.5-1.5 cm wide.[5][6][8][9][10][13][16][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28]

The leaves can be shiny,[27][29] and bright green above,[4][9][14][19][28][30] and pale grey-green (or blue green) below.[4][11] Some plants can have dark green leaves.[31][32][33]

They have strongly, visible longitudinal veins.[4][21][24]

The leaves are longer than the flowering stems.[6][9][10][14][17][21][22][25][31][33][34][35][36][37][38]

After the plant has flowered, the foliage has the tendency to extend.[17] Later, the deciduous foliage, dies back during the winter.[27] ref name=botanycz/>

Iris graminea has a flattened stem,[4][5][10][21][22][24] with distinct edges.[4]

That grows up to between 10–60 cm (4–24 in) long.[3][4][10][6][11][12][13][14][15][17][18][19][21][22][23][25][28][29][30][33][36][37][38][39][40][41]

The stems have 1-2 spathes (leaves of the flower bud),[6][38] which are unequal in size.[22][42] The lower is larger and rather leaf-like.[22][42]

The stems hold 1-2 terminal (top of stem) flowers,[4][5][10][11][17][19][21][22][24][28][36][38] blooming between spring,[28] and summer,[7][9][11][15][22][28] between May and June.[3][4][6][8][12][14][17][18][21][23][24][25][33][35]

The stems are normally, unbranched,[21] but (if they have a second flower), the pedicel, is up to 6 cm long.[4]

The large flowers are 6–8 cm (2–3 in) in diameter,[7][10][11][13][17][19][31][37][38] they are larger than Iris sintenisii flowers.[23] They have a strong scent (or fragrance),[11][29] which can be variously described as similar to freesias,[26] or fruity,[7][13][15] or smell of ripe plums,[5][9][16][17][19][21][25][36][40] or apricots,[6][33][36] or greengages[18][35][42] or between grapes and plum tarts.[8]

The flowers come in a range of shades, from purple,[8][11][14][27][33][40] blue-violet,[5][7][9][12][13][16][18][35][36][38] purple violet[17][28] violet crimson,[10][21][24][31] reddish purple,[5][15][19][39][40][41] violet,[6][22][29] lavender,[29][30] and blue.[6][14]

It has 2 pairs of petals, 3 large sepals (outer petals), known as the 'falls' and 3 inner, smaller petals (or tepals, known as the 'standards'.[14][19] The falls have a long haft or claw, (section closest to the stem) and a small rounded or oval blade.[4][5][16][38] They are 3–5 cm (1–2 in) long.[22] The centre of the blade has a pale yellow,[4][9][17] or white central area,[41] which is veined with violet,[9][16][17][19][22][28][36][38][39] purple,[4][21] or blue.[7][11][25][36] Some references describe a dark purple area with white veining.[6][14] The claw is sometimes winged, and tinged with green or brown,[22][37][39] or veined deep reddish-purple.[38] The erect, standards are purple blue,[16] or purple,[14][17][25][36][38] or red-violet,[39] They are 2–5 cm (1–2 in) long,[22] with green or brown shade at the base.[22]

It has a long and arching,[14] purple style branch,[9][17][22][38][39] (that is long as the haft),[16] and has a dark purple centre stripe.[16] They have a brown base.[37]

It has an ovary with double ridges, a 2 pointed stigma and pollen that is orange-red.[5] It has also has a short perianth tube.[4]

After the iris has flowered, it produces a 3–4 cm (1–2 in) long seed capsule,[6][24] which has a narrowed point.[24][31] Inside the capsule, are pear shaped seeds,[4][31] which are slightly compressed and flattened.[31]


As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes. This can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.[14] It has be counted several times including,2n=34, Simonet 1932; 2n=34, Lenz 1963; 2n=34, Popova, M., & I. Cesmedziev, (1975 & 1976); 2n=34, Colasante & Sauer, 1993; 2n=28, 34, 36, Lovka, 1995 and 2n=34, Dobeš et al., 1997.[38] It is generally published as 2n=34.[21][39][40][43][44]


It is pronounced as (Iris) EYE-ris (graminea) gram-IN-ee-a.[28][29]

It is known as Iris à feuilles de graminées or Iris de Bayonne in France,[45] and Giaggiolo susino in Italy.[46][47] It is known as kosaciec trawolistny in Polish,[33] and Iris trávolistý in Czechoslovakia.[6][34] It is known as zlakovidny iris in Russia,[4][10][20][24][31][41][48] and gräsiris in Swedish,(meaning grass iris).[13][49]

The Latin specific epithet graminea refers to grassy due to the grass-like leaves.[16][17][21][50]

It has common names of Grass-Leaved Flag (in the US)[28][29] or Grass leaved Iris,[19][38][44] Plum Iris,[21][44][51] and Plum tart Iris,[14][15][27][37] or Plum scented Iris,(because of the scent).[8][16][17][40]

It was originally published and described by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum Vol.1 page39 on 1 May 1753.[43][49][52]

It was later published by Ker-Gawler in Curtis's Botanical Magazine Vol.18 page681 in 1803.[38] Then by B. Fedtsch in Flora of SSSR Vol.4 page529 in 1935.[43]

It was verified by United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service on 4 April 2003 and then updated on 1 December 2004.[49]

Iris graminea is an accepted name by the RHS, and it gained the RHS's Award of Garden Merit.[8][19][30]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is native to temperate areas of Europe,[2][10][14][17][19][22][24][27][31][34][36][37][38][39][41][43][44][49] and Asia.[49]


It is widespread from Spain to Russia.[9][11][14][17][21][22][23][28][34][39][40]

Within Asia, it is found in the Caucasus regions,[6][8][9][10][11][14][17][22][23][24][28][31][32][34][38][36][39][40][41] of Georgia,[49] and the Russian Federation,[9][17][39] (in Ciscaucasia and Dagestan).[49] Also in Turkey (in Asia Minor).[2][10][20][24][36][43]

Within Europe, it is found in Austria,[49] Bulgaria,[2][23][49][53] Czechoslovakia,[44][49] (in Moravia),[6] Former Yugoslavia,[49] France,[6][23][44][49] Germany,[49] Hungary,[49] Italy,[6][49] Poland,[23][49] Romania,[2][49] Spain,[2][6][44][49] Switzerland,[49] and Ukraine,[32][44][49] (in Crimea,[2][14][34][40][41]).

It may be naturalized in Moravia,[6] and in Germany.[21]


It is found growing in scrubland,[9][10][20][23][31][34][44] in grass lands,[9][21][23][44] in meadows (or pastures),[6][11][13][21][34] in open woods,[6][11][21][23] and in rocky or gravelly soils of the mountains.[10][20][21][31]


Iris graminea is an endangered species in Czechoslavakia,[12] it is also listed as Vulnerable' in Hungary.[6]

In Saxony, (Germany) it is listed as rare.[44]

It is thought to be extinct in Poland. It was formerly found near Cieszyn.[3][33]

It has been listed in various Red Data Books.[3]


Iris graminea is hardy to between USDA Zones 3 to 9.[8][11][17][28][29][40] It is hardy to Europe Zone H2.[22] It can survive temperatures as low as -20oC.[21][23] It is hardy in most places of the UK.[30] During the winter, the foliage dies back, leaving the rhizome under the ground. In very cold climates, a mulch may help the plant survive colder temperatures.[27]

It can be grown in normal garden conditions.[5][17][18][26] They prefer neutral or slightly acidic,[8][12][17][25][28][29][30] (or lime-free),[36] well drained,[17][27][30] and fertile (or humus rich) soils.[7][11][17][21][23][25][28][37] They can tolerate dry soils,[17][28][37] or clay and heavy soils,[30] but it prefers damp soils.[7][8][12][25][37]

They prefer positions in full sun,[25][29][51] and can tolerate partial shade.[7][8][11][12][17][18][27][28][30][36][37]

It requires adequate watering, during growth.[12][17][25][29] such as a moist spring and then drier during the summer.[18][27] Mature plants can tolerate drought periods.[17]

It can be fertilized in early spring and after flowers have bloomed.[17]

They can be grown in a front of a mixed border,[5][10][17][26] or rockery.[10][12][13][17][24][25][30][32][33][36] The flowers can be used in bouquets, so can also be grown in a cutting garden.[16][17][35]

They can be also grown in containers, as long as they are well watered.[7]

They do not like root disturbance,[11][17] similar to other spuria irises.

It suffers from no serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot is an infrequently occurring disease problem. It is susceptible to certain viruses,[17] such as bacterial leaf blight, soft rot, rhizome rot, leaf spot, rust, viruses and scorch.[28] It is also can be susceptible to damage by Iris borer, verbina bud moth, white flies, iris weevil, thrips, slugs, snails, aphids and nematodes.[28] It can also tolerate damage from deer.[17]

The iris has been cultivated since at least 1568.[21][31]

It was first grown in Cambridge Botanic Garden in 1733,[2][34] it was labelled as narrow leafed plum scent iris.[2]

For many years it was grown in St. Petersburg Botanical Garden,[31] and the botanical garden of Ufa.[24]

It is the most commonly grown, Iris spuria species,[5][16] and can be more easily found in plants nurseries.[21] Although it is most commonly known in Europe.[8]


It can also be propagated by division or by seed growing.[5][17][29]

It rarely needs lifting and dividing.[30] Large clumps of mature plants can be lifted between mid-summer to early autumn, then divided before being replanted.[5][12][28] As it does not like root disturbance,[11][17] so seed growing is preferred. If re-planted, they can take a year to 'settle' before beginning to bloom again.[21]

Seeds are collected from the pods after flowering.[29] Seeds are then sown in containers in a cold frame in autumn,[28][51] or between September to May.[12][30]

Seeds should be kept moist for about 2–4 weeks and also warm (at about 15-20 °C). Then temperatures between -4 °C and + 4 °C suspend for 4–6 weeks. These conditions are best reached at the autumn sowing outdoors. Seed trays should then be kept at temperatures of 5 °C to + 10 °C after the cooling period, for a few weeks. In the wild, these freezing and heat period) conditions take place naturally.[51]

The plants need to grow and mature for about 2–3 years before they begin to flower.[17][21][51]

Hybrids and Cultivars[edit]

Iris graminea has the following known varieties such as; 'Achtaroffii', 'Adami', 'Colchica', 'Graminea Lamprophylla', 'Graminea Sylvatica', 'Graminea latifolia', 'Gravenia', 'Hort's variety', 'Pseudocyperus'.[38]

I. graminea var. pseudocyperus ranges from Czech Republic, Romania, Transylvania, and Slovakia.[40] var. psuedocyperus has broad leaves, but no scent[15]


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External links[edit]