| Curtis's Botanical Magazine, table 7926, 1902 describes the following; "This elegant little Iris belongs to the small section or sub-genus Evansea, distinguished among the rhizomatous series by having a distinct crest on the lower part of the blade and claw of the outer segments of the perianth. Mr. Baker, in his u Handbook of the Irideae," enumerates eight species, all of which, except the North American I. lacustris, Nutt., are, or have been, in cultivation. They I. nepalensis, D. Don. (Sweet's British Flower Garden, series 2, t. 11); I. speculate ix, Hance (Bot. Mag. t. 6306) ; I. cristata, Ait. (Bot. Mag. t. 41.2) ; I. Milesii, Foster (Bot. Mag. t. 6889) ; I. tectorum, Maxim. (Bot. Mag. t. 6118), and I. japonica, Thunb., syn. I. chinensis, Curt. (Bot. Mag. t. 373). With the exception of I. cristata, a native of the Eastern States of North America, all the species named inhabit Asia, ranging from the North-west Himalaya to China and Japan.
I. gracilipes is in cultivation both at Kew and Cambridge. Kew procured it from Mr. Max Leichtlin in September, 1902, and it flowered in pots in a cold frame, and also in an open bed during last spring. Mr. R. I. Lynch sent flowering specimens from Cambridge in April, without any information of their origin. It is one of the most graceful species of the genus, and merits attention where the larger, more showy ones would be out of place. There are several Japanese, not specially localized specimens in the Kew Herbarium, including one of Gray's type ; but there is a note that the species grows in humid situations.
Descr. – A tufted, slender herb, six to twelve inches high, with a slender, branching rootstock. Stems of two kinds, flowerless and flowering ; the former very short, and bearing from three to five narrow, thin leaves, six to twelve inches long, very acute, six-nerved, with secondary, thinner nerves. Scapes or flowering stems about the same height, bearing two or three short leaves, and about the same number of flowers. Spathes one-flowered, on very slender peduncles. Flowers sessile, erect, purple or lilac, about two inches in diameter. Falls oblong, notched at the tip, recurved, white in the middle, striped with purple, and yellow-crested. Standards smaller, self-coloured. Style-crests of the same colour, irregularly fringe-toothed. –W. B. H.
| Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;
Rootstock , a slender, branching, comparatively wide-creeping rhizome.
Leaves , about a foot long eventually, ¼ in. broad, ensiform, slightly ribbed, green.
Stem , about 8-10 in., slender, branching about twice with a leafy bract at the bifurcations.
Spathes , with one valve only, lanceolate, membranous, scarious, reaching above the top of the tube.
Pedicel , none or very short.
Ovary , trigonal with thin walls.
Tube , about } in., funnel shaped.
Falls , obovate, cuneate, slightly more than an inch long by ½ in. broad, deeply and widely emarginate, and bearing a wavy linear crest, which is yellowish white along the haft, becoming orange at the tip on the blade. At the base of the haft the ground colour is creamy white marked with brownish veins which become lilac towards the edge ; the blade is of a pink lilac marked with deeper veins at the edge of a central patch of white veined with deep lilac.
Standards , oblanceolate, emarginate, with a short canaliculate haft, of a uniform pink lilac, under an inch long by ¼ in. wide, spreading at the same angle as the falls.
Styles , 1 in., of the same pink lilac colour.
Crests , long, nearly 1 in., much fimbriated.
Stigma , a triangular tongue.
Filaments , equal in length to the anthers.
Anthers , white.
Capsule , very short, under ½ in. long, with bulging sides, almost trefoil in section.
Seeds , small, dark reddish-brown, pyriform, with conspicuous cream-coloured rhaphe.
This is one of the most dainty of all Irises and does well in a cool, moist and yet not waterlogged soil It is not always easy to establish and should only be moved during the summer months while growth is still active. Division of the rhizomes is then possible. It may also be raised from seed, which sets fairly readily although in no great abundance, even if the flowers are carefully pollinated.
In structure, this Iris is peculiar in its single-valved spathes.
|Van Tubergen 1916: 1938; Perry 1938' Starker 1938; Nesmith 1939; Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 39: 3, cxxxvi. April 1914;|
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