Iris tuberosa

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Iris tuberosa
Hermodactylus tuberosus.jpg
Iris tuberosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Hermodactyloides
Section: Reticulatae
Species: I. tuberosa
Binomial name
Iris tuberosa
Iris tuberosa
Iris tuberosa

Iris tuberosa is a species of non-rhizomatous plant of the genus Iris, with the common names snake's-head,[2] snake's-head iris,[3] widow iris, black iris, or velvet flower-de-luce.


A native of the Mediterranean region, it is found in the northern Mediterranean littoral and western Europe.[4]


It is grown from tuberous bulbs planted in the autumn. It grows best in full sun to partial shade, and requires well-drained soil. In can naturalise in grassy areas but grows well in rock gardens or containers.[5] It is a common ornamental garden plant, flowering in early spring. It is rather tender in the UK.[6]

Taxonomic history[edit]

After being split off from the Iris genus in the nineteenth century into a separate genus,[7] Hermodactylus, it has most recently been returned to the genus Iris,[8][9] following molecular studies at Kew.[10] According to the proposed molecular classification of irises of Tillie, Chase and Hall,[10] this species is now best seen as a member of the subgenus Hermodactyloides, the reticulate-bulbed bulbous irises.