Iris palaestina (or sometimes Iris palestina) is a species in the genus Iris; it is also in the subgenus of Scorpiris. It is a bulbous perennial from Asia, within Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. It has long, narrow, strap-like leaves, and a short stem. The early blooming, fragrant flowers are greenish-grey/white or yellow-white.
Most specimens have up to six leaves, which are 6 in (150 mm) tall at flowering time. They are normally about 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) wide at the base of the plant. The long, narrow, strap-like leaves have undulate edges with a thin white margin. They are normally shiny green in color, but are glossy on the upper surface.
It has a short stem which is about 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) high.
It has fragrant flowers between January and February. Generally, there are one to three flowers per stem. The flowers are greenish-grey/white, but can be yellow-white as well. In southern Israel, some specimens have a slight blue tinge.
The flowers have winged falls. It has a perianth tube around 8–18 cm (3.1–7.1 in) long.
Iris palaestina is an accepted name by the Royal Horticultural Society. It was verified by United States Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service on 4 April 2003, and then updated on 1 December 2004.
Distribution and habitat
It comes from Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, (including Batha) and Israel. It was found in Golan, Galilee, Mediterranean coast, northern valleys, Carmel, Samarian mountains, Samarian desert, Judean mountains, Sharon and Shefela.
The iris is not hardy and is generally a poor grower in the UK. It is better grown in a pot under cover in a greenhouse or bulb frame. It should be potted in well-drained, fertile compost and have a summer rest from watering.
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