| Noltie provided the following notes in Curtis's Botanical Magazine p. 9, table : "This beautiful new member of section Pseudoregelia Dykes was introduced into cultivation from seed collected in Bhutan in 1984 by David Long and Ian Sinclair of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. It has proved to be hardy and has flowered profusely at Edinburgh for the last three years. Herbarium investigations have revealed that it had been collected previously on several occasions-as far back as 1933-by Ludlow & Sherriff (et al.), Kingdon Ward and Rock. These specimens, however, had all been determined as I. kemaonensis Royle.The present plant differs from that species in many respects, notably in its flower colour which is a uniform deep violet at maturity and apparently lacking the blotching characteristic of I. kemaonensis and other members of the section. As the flower fades blotching does become visible, but this is evidently masked at anthesis (unless viewed against the light) by the dark ground-colour. Iris kemaonensis vary variable in colour (see illustrations in Hara, 1968), but in the dark forms blotching is always obvious. A further difference is found in the shape of the flower-in I. kemaonensis the standards are held erect, giving a pyramidal shape; however in dolichosiphon the style-branches form a flat top and the standards are deflexed making the flower look almost radially symetrical. Flower shape is very difficult to interpret on herbarium specimens and this, together with poor colour notes on many old specimens, accounts for the lack of earlier recognition of this species. The specific epithet refers to the very long perianth-tube (up to 14 cm), which seldom exceeds 8 cm in I. kemaonensis. As in I. kemaonensis the capsule develops at ground level but the shape of the capsule differs greatly between the two species. In I. dolichosiphon the segments of the capsule are narrowly elliptic, tapering to an acute apex (similar in shape to those of I. hookeriana Foster) and are much longer than the subglobose capsules of I. kemaonensis. Unfortunately fruit is not set in cultivated plants, despite hand-pollination, suggesting that the species may have some self-incompatibility mechanism.
Iris dolichosiphon quite clearly belongs to the section Pseudoregelia, along with I. goniocarpa Baker, I. hookeriana Foster, I. kemaonensis and I. sikkimensis Dykes. Mathew (1981) also includes I. tigridia Bunge ex Ledeb. In the section. These species all clearly defined and agree in having compact, non-stoloniferous rhizomes, flowers with bearded falls (usually blotched), and arillate seeds. Further work, however, remains to be done on the forms occurring in the eastern Himalaya and south-west China. Many of the specimens in herbaria from this region currently placed under I. kemaonensis (of which I have seen no specimens from further east than Bhutan) do not belong to that species and seem to be closer to I. dolichosiphon. I would draw attention, in particular, to a group of specimens from Sichuan and yunnan (collected by Forrest, Rock, Kingdon Ward etc.) which resemble the present plant but are smaller and have very narrow leaves-these might eventually be recognized at varietal or subspecific rank under the present species. Some of these specimens (at E) were misidentified as I. potaninii Maxim. By Dykes. Similar forms apparently also occur in Assam (Kingdon Ward specimen at K).
The seed of this Iris (from which the plant shown in Plate 141 was grown) was collected on a steep south-facing hillside above the remote village of Laya close to the frontier of north-west Bhutan with Xizang (tibet). The original tree-line is no longer extant, but is likely to have been at around 4,000m. Between Laya, at about 3,800m, and the rocky summit of the ridge at about 4,500 m are relatively open hillsides with scattered, stunted trees of Sorbus, Juniperus, Abies etc., mixed with shrubs such as Lonicera webbiana, Berberis virescens and Rhododendron campanulatum subsp. aeruginosum. These woody plants form thickets in gullies and hollows with open, rocky screes and often extensive grassy slopes (much used for yak grazing) between. The shrubs give protection to a wide range of herbaceous plants (such as Primula, Gentian, Cyananthus, Meconopsis etc.) which flower during the summer monsoon period. Iris dolichosiphon was found in abundance at 4,130 m in such habitat, in an area of scattered scrub and grassy clearings. It grew with Lilium nanum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Leontopodium leontopodinum, Polygonatum hookeri, Festuca valesiaca and Saussurea leontodontoides. The plants were in ripe fruit in late September and attracted attention by having capsules borne at ground level.Cultivation. Iris dolichosiphon seems to have no special requirements and has proved hardy in the rock garden at Edinburgh where it grows in full sun in ordinary, fairly well-drained gardwen soil. It is propagated easily by division and in June flowers are produced much more freely than in the related I. kemaonensis and I. hookeriana.Description. Rhizomes very short, stout (c. 1 cm in diameter) forming a dense crown. Leaves in basal non-flowering tufts; at flowering time immature, short, slightly glaucous with a bluntish apex, the narrow cartilaginous border forming a minute apiculus; growing after flowering to c. 54 cm long and 1.4 cm wide, linear, gradually tapered to a very acute apex, dark green with slight waxy bloom but not glaucous. Flowers always solitary, borne on short shoots at ground level, up to 8.5 cm in diameter. Perianth-tube covered for c. 2/3 of its legth by 3 or 4 slightly glaucous (innermost membranous, spathe-like), leaf-like bracts with sheathing, over-lapping bases, which wither after flowering; tube to 14 cm long, gradually widened upwards to c. 1 cm in diameter, brownish violet, shining. Falls each with a blade c. 3.3 cm long and 1.8 cm wide, oblong, with a blunt, shallowly retuse apex; haft c. 1 cm long and 0.8 cm wide, oblong, with dense beard of clavate hairs to 2.3 mm long, white at the base, orange-tipped, beard just reaching the blade; inner surface of the blade dark violet (HCC 86A) near centre, lighter near the edge, very lightlty blotched when viewed against light, blotching becoming most prominent with age, outer surface with greenish white streaks in the centre. Standards with the haft spreading horizontally and blade deflexed; blade c. 3 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, blunt, dark violet (HCC 87A), abruptly narrowed into haft; haft c. 0.6 cm long, brownish, shining, with margins inrolled. Stamens c. 2.2 cm long; filaments c. 1.2 cm wide, upper surface very pale violet; pollen off-white. Style-branches c. 1.8 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, ±elliptic, dark violet (HCC 86A) with paler margins (HCC 87C); stigma-flap c. 0.8 cm wide, truncate with a shallow notch in the centre; lobes of style-branches c. 1 cm long and 0.6 cm wide, very acute, margins slightly toothed, rolled back; ovary c. 1.3 cm long and 0.7 cm wide. Capsule up to 5 cm long, narrowly ellipsoid (trigonous?), apex acute, opening by 3 lateral slits. Seeds up to 3.5 mm long, each with a large aril.
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