Iris histrioides, (also known as 'Orchis Iris', ‘winter iris’ and 'Harput iris') is a species in the genus Iris, and in the subgenus of Hermodactyloides. It is a bulbous perennial, that is native to Turkey, and has blue scented flowers. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions, and has many known cultivars.
It has bulbs which are coated with a solid brown fibrous network.
It has leaves that grow up to 40–50 cm (16–20 in) high, and are squarish in cross section, thicker than in other Reticulatas. They appear after the flowers have bloomed or sometimes as they open.
It has a very very short stem.
Like other irises, 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'.:17 The falls have a yellow signal, with many black spots, also they have a yellow ridge. The flowers can last up to a week on the plant, depending on the weather.
As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes, this can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.:18 It has been counted several times. As 2n=17 by Randolph & Mitra in 1959, 2n=16 by Johnson & Mathew in 1989 and 2n=16+1B, Johnson & Brandham in 1997.
It was first published as Iris reticulata var. histrioides and described by G.F.Wilson in Gardeners' Chronicles ser.3 Vol.9 n page 117 in 1891. In 1892, in the 'Journal of Horticulture' Vol.III Issue 24 on page 121, Samuel Arnott republished it as Iris histrioides.
Distribution and habitat
Once the bulb has been planted, it can take many years to reach flowering size. Also it has the habit of the main bulb splitting into many bulblets, that can take many years to reach flowering size.
Grows well outside but also good in the alpine house. This species is represented in cultivation by several cultivars.
- Iris Angel Tears' (blue with a honey mark on white ground with a small yellow vein),
- Iris 'George' (purple),
- Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin'(light blue standards, pale yellow falls, a 1960s hybrid of Iris histrioides and the primrose-yellow Iris winogradowii),
- Iris 'Harmony' (light blue, a hybrid between I. histrioides and Iris reticulata),
- Iris 'Joyce' (deep blue falls and sky blue standards),
- Iris 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' (dark blue or pale-blue flowers and a mass of dark spotting on the falls),
- Iris 'Major' (royal blue),
- Iris 'Pauline' (light blue, a hybrid between I. histrioides and I. reticulata),
- Iris histrioides var. sophenensis also, from Turkey is deep violet-blue with little veining or spotting, narrow petals and a yellow ridge.
Like many other irises, most parts of the plant are poisonous (rhizome and leaves), if mistakenly ingested can cause stomach pains and vomiting. Also handling the plant may cause a skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
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- Media related to Iris histrioides at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Iris histrioides at Wikispecies