■ (SPEC) Iris korolkowii Regel

1873, Botanical author Regel

Iris korolkowii Regel (Edourd August von Regel, 1873, Turkestan); Section Regelia , 16-24" (40-60 cm); Typical flower with white ground finely marked with blackish-maroon veins. Enum. Pl. nov. Turest. in Act. Hort. Petrop. 2 432. 1873, (sent to St Petersburg by General Korolkow in 1872: Bull. 1874;

See below:
I. korolkowiiLB15.jpgIris korolkowii KWW 1.jpgIris korolkowii KWW 2.jpgkorokowii edited-1.jpgKorolkowii-2.jpgKorolkowii-clumpA.jpgkorolkowii.jpgKorolkowii13JB.JPGKorolkowii213JB.JPGKorolkowii313JB.JPGkorolkowii413JB.JPGkorolkowii - Dominquez.jpgkorolkowii furse.jpgkorolkowii seed gallery size.jpgkorolkowii violacea - Baumfalk-Ruksans.jpgkorolkowiibocena01.jpgKorolkowiiBrownandGreenA.jpgkorolkowiiBruinclump1JB.JPGkorolkowiiBruinclump2JB.JPGKorolkowiiGartenflora1891.jpgkorolkowiiTheGarden1888.jpgkorolkowiiViolaceaBruin12JB.jpgkorolkowiiViolaceaBruin13JB.JPGkorolkowiiviolaceabruinJB.jpgKorolkowiiYellowVariantA.jpgYellow KorolkowiiJB15.JPG
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References:

Iris korolkowii Regel, Trudy Imp. S.-Peterburgsk. Bot. Sada 2: 432 (1873).
Gartenflora, XXIi. p. 225, t. 766, 1873
Hocker 1937;
The Garden. An illustrated weekly journal of horticulture in all its branches (ed. William Robinson), vol. 28: p. 484, t. 517 (1885) My friend, Mr. Max Leichtlin, once said to me, " There are some plants which, so long as they are in bloom, I always go and look at the first thing in the morning, in order that I may enjoy their beauty; and Iris Korolkowi is one of these." They who know the floral wealth of the Baden-Baden garden will recognise that a flower to be thus singled out must have peculiar charms; and, indeed, I am myself inclined to regard I. Korolkowi as, in some respects, the most beautiful of all Irises as yet known to me; the delicate veining, the rich tone of the dark " purple-brown " (if I may use such a term to designate a very peculiar colour which is common in this and allied Irises) throat between style and standard, and the contrast which this affords to the soft creamy ground colour of the falls attd standards, together with a graceful form, produce an effect which, in my eyes at all events, is most delightful. At the same time, these qualities are most difficult to reproduce in a picture, and I hope the artist of the accompanying plate will forgive my saying that the image falls short of the reality, as indeed it must.

I. Korolkowi was some years ago described and figured by Regel {Gartenflora, 1873, p. 225, t. 766), but the plant, I believe I am right in saying, was nearly lost to cultivation until it was revived by the skill of the great Baden-Baden gardener, to whom I am indebted for my own specimens; from him, too, came the plant from which, while growing in Mr. Barr's nursery at Tooting, the accompanying plate was drawn.

Regel's figure in the Gartenflora does scant justice to the beauty of the subject; indeed, one almost suspects that the plant must vary in colour, and that the specimen there drawn was a variety lacking the splendour of Max Leichtlin's plants.

Thanks to the energy of the Russian Government, of Dr. Regel, and other Russian men of science (and, I may add, of Russian generals, who at least do not think it below their military dignity to take the trouble to send home roots and seeds of rare plants), we are becoming acquainted with a large number of Irises, growing in Western and Central Asia, which form an interesting group intermediate between the ordinary bearded Iris and the Oncocyclus Irises, such as I. iberica and I. susiana. I. Korolkowi, sent from Central Asia (I have so far failed to find its exact habitat) by General Korolkow, after whom it has been named, is one of these; I. Leichtlini from Bokhara is closely allied to it, as are also several other Asian Irises which have not yet come into general cultivation.

The root of Korolkowi resembles a good deal that of an Oncocyclus Iris, but is distinctly less fleshy. The leaves are tall, narrow, and upright, not falcate, as in most Oncocyclus Irises. The scape, about a foot or so high, bears two large flowers, with the characters shown in the plate. The approach to the Oncocyclus type is shown in the large permanent spathe valves and in the prominent arched styles, but the beard is close set and linear — not a group of scattered hairs, as in Oncocyclus, and the constituent hairs are simple, not studded with bosses or tubercles. The affinity with Oncocyclus Irises is, however, best shown in the capsule, which is large and trigonal, like that of an Oncocyclus Iris, dehiscing in the same way, and in the seed, which is large, wrinkled, with a light-coloured fleshy arillus, exactly as in an Oncocyclus Iris. So like is the seed to that of I. iberica, or I. susiana, and the other Oncocyclus Irises, that it becomes very difficult indeed to distinguish it from them.

These characters — a scape with two, or sometimes three flowers, large permanent spathe valves, a capsule and seed resembling those of the Oncocyclus group, but with falls having a distinct beard of simple hairs — are common to a large number of Central Asian Irises. They are seen in I. Bloudowi, described long ago by Ledebour, and from I. Bloudowi we readily pass through I. flavissima of Asia to I. arenaria, which is found in Hungary, marking the western limit of the group, and at the same time connecting the group with the ordinary dwarf bearded Irises

Nearly all the members of this group of Irises are peculiar in colour, and for the most part strikingly veined. Hence most of them, though by no means all, are singularly beautiful and worthy of cultivation. But what shall I say about their cultivation? Were I one of those gardeners so skilful, or possessed of such a happy soil and climate that I could grow I. susiana and I. iberica in a common garden border without care and without trouble, I should buy as many plants as I could get of I. Korolkowi, I. Leichtlini, I. Bloudowi, I. arenaria, and others, and plant them everywhere. Under my present circumstances, however, and with my present skill and knowledge, I cannot make these Irises flower unless I treat them exactly as I do I. iberica and I. susiana. I place them in the sunniest, driest spot I have, in sandy or rather gritty, but fairly rich soil, planting them if possible in the beginning of August putting them in dry, and never letting the watering-pot touch them. At the end of May or beginning of June I put a light over them, but not round them, letting the air have free access beneath the glass to the plants, but shutting off all the rain. I keep the light on until the end of July or beginning of August, varying the exact time according to the state of the weather and the forwardness of the plants. Then the lights come off, and the plants are left exposed to wind, rain, frost, and snow until the following summer, though, perhaps, during a wet November I ward off excess of rain for a few weeks. This plan I learnt from my gardening master. Max Leichtlin. When I follow it the plants generally thrive and flower. When I do not follow it, but leave the plants exposed to the freaks of an English summer, they linger on flowerless for a while, and after a time are no more.

M. Foster.
Tab. 7025, Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 1888;This very distinct Iris was discovered in Turkestan about 1870, by the collector whose name it bears. It was imported into England from St. Petersburg by Mr. William Bull in 1874, but is still very little spread in English collections. We received the fruit in 1876, grown by Max Leichtlin at Baden-Baden. The type is most like I. iberica in the colouring of the flower, but in the habit of growth and character of the beard it approximates to I. biflora and lutescens. Dr. Foster's concolorous purple variety is now published for the first time, and of course, for garden purposes, is very distinct from the type. The species was flowered both at Cambridge and Kew in the month of May this present year.

Descr. Rhizome shortly creeping. Basal leaves ensiform, glaucous, a foot long at the flowering time, an inch broad. Peduncle one-headed, about a foot long, bearing a single reduced leaf below the middle. Head usually two-flowered; outer spathe- valves very large, oblong-lanceolate, four or five inches long, green at the flowering time, pedicels short. Ovary linear-oblong, strongly angled, above an inch long. Perianth-tube cylindrical, an inch long; limb in the type milk-white, distinctly veined with chocolate-brown, three inches long; outer segments obovate-cuneate, reflexing from below the middle, the brown claw furnished with a beard of brown hairs with white tips; inner segments erect, obovate-unguiculate, equal to the outer in length, a little broader. Style-crests ovate-deltoid, half an inch long, white, with brown veins. Capsule above two inches long, strongly angled, narrowed gradually to the point.

Var. concolor, Foster (fig. B), is a fine variety, with almost concolorous bright lilac-purple flowers.— J. G. Baker.
Foster in Gardeners' Chronicles, ser. 3, 4: 37 (1888) The scientific zeal of Russian military officers and explorers guided by the Nestor of Russian botany, Dr. K. von Regel, of St. Petersburg, has within the last twenty years brought to light many new plants from Central Asia, and among them many new Irises. Of these latter not a few are obviously allied to, and yet in certain characters, differ from the group of Irises known as the " Oncocyclus" group, of which I. Susiana and I, iberica are well known examples.

In these two Irises the most striking features, outside the large size and colour of the flower, are the rounded orbicular form of the perianth segments, and the dispersion of the hairs on the falls in place of the compact beard of the ordinary Mediterranean " bearded " Iris. These characters are correlated with (1), large, generally inflated, and always persistently green spathe-valves ; {2), a rhizome in which the new buds instead of being closely adpressed to old ones, are separated by a larger or shorter neck, so that each bud stands out singly; and (3), large seeds with a conspicuous light coloured strophiole, or appendage. These latter three characters are the really distinctive characters, for in some Irises, such as I. acutiloba, which certainly belongs to the same group as I. iberica, the perianthtsegments are narrow (hence the name acutiloba), and in others equally near to I. iberica the hairs are no longer scattered, but are gathered into a distinct beard.

All the Oncocyclus Irises have a one-flowered spathe, and the leaves, generally more or less falcate, are as a rule not narrow in proportion to their length. But several of the new Irises from Turkestan and Bokhara, while agreeing with the Oncocyclus Irises in the three characters just mentioned — of spathe-valves, of rhizome, and of seed — especially the last — have spathes which are two or three-flowered, and leaves which are narrow and long. They thus form a distinct group by themselves, to which I propose to give the name Regelia. To this group I. Korolkowi, I. Suworowi, I. lineata (which I am now inclined to regard only as a very distinct variety of I. Suworowi), I. Leichtlini, I. vaga (which I am similarly inclined to regard as only a very distinct variety of I. Leichtlinii), and others belong In this group, I. Korolkowi (named after a distinguished Russian general, who, unlike some of his British analogues, does not regard it as below his dignity to help the science of botany and the art of horticulture), is distinguished by the large ovate-lanceolate falls, which, narrowing gradually from the blade to the claw, are flexed about half-way down in such a way that the claws of the falls embracing those of the standards form a funnel of some length, from the mouth of which the blades of the falls fall gracefully downwards, while the elegant standards rise erect. Both falls and standards are marked by more or less conspicuous but always thin-branched veins, and the tunnel formed by the arched styles and the (from side to side) concave claw of the fall, from the intense colouring of the " signal " (or coloured blotch at the base of the blade, which shows the insect the right way to the nectar) on the latter looks like the mouth of a dark but beautiful cavern, in the depths of which the anther shimmers.

Within the limits of the species the lesser characters vary a good deal. In the form originally described by Kegel and figured in Gartenflora, 1873, s. 223, t. 76G, the falls, relatively narrow, are of a general olive-green colour, caused by olive-green brown veins and a like coloured " signal " on a creamy-white ground which has a greenish tinge. I have in my garden a plant which I owe to the kindness of my generous friend, Mr. Max Leichtlin, of Baden, absolutely reproducing the figure in the Gartenflora. This on historical grounds should be considered the type.

A few years ago Mr. Max Leichtlin received and has since distributed a very beautiful form, in which the falls and standards are a nearly pure creamy white, with tender unobtrusive veins, and in which the " signal " is of the deepest --almost black purple. It is to my thinking one of the most beautiful of all irises. It is fairly well figured in The Garden (November 7, 1885). If this variety must have a name it should be called Leichtliniana.

The flower sent this Spring to the Royal Horticultural Society from Kew (see our issue for June 2, 1888 p. 695) and shown in the accompanying illustration (see fig. 3) though the figure unfortunately gives only the flower, as shown, omitting many of the essential characters of the plant, it is obviously another variety of I. Korolkowii distinguished as the woodcut shows by the obtrusiveness of its veining. Not having seen the flower itself I can say little more about it; it might be called var. venosa.

I have another variety in my garden, also the gift of Mr. Max Leichtlin, which reproduces the type, save that the olive-green brown is replaced by violet or puce; this might be called — if a name is really necessary — var. violacea.

Lastly, I owe to the great kindness of Dr. Regel, a rhizome, which, sent under another name, turned out to be a very distinct variety of I. Korolkowi, characterised by much broader, more obtuse segments, in which the venation is almost wholly obscured by a general violet or purple colour. This form certainly ought to have a name, and I propose to call it var. concolor.

In all probability there are other varieties yet to come to light, to say nothing of the new features which cultivated seedlings may show.
Gartenflora [E. von Regel], vol. 40: t. 1358 (1891)
Krel. 1893; 1913; Van Tubergen 1900; 1938; Van Waveren 1912;
Dykes Genus Iris tab. 23; 124. 1913, Gives the following Description.

Rootstock , a red-skinned rhizome with crowded growths, seldom inclined to produce stolons. The basal sheathes of the leaves and stem are membranous and surrounded by a few fibrous remains of older growths.
Leaves , narrow, ensiform, of a pale grey glaucous green, often dark at the base.
Stem, about a foot in height, bearing 2-3 reduced leaves which wrap it closely, and a single head of 2-3 flowers.
Spathe valves, 2-3 in. long, keeled, acuminate, green more or less flushed with purple.
Pedicel , practically none.
Ovary , an inch long, trigonal.
Tube , an inch long, striped and mottled with dark purple.
Falls. Obovate cuneate, of a general pale olive-green colour, caused by olive green or brown veins and a like coloured signal patch on creamy white ground, which has a greenish tinge. The haft narrows very suddenly at the base forming flanges which cover the base of the standards.
Standards , obovate unguiculate, with brownish veins on a whitish ground.
Styles , keeled, very dark reddish purple.
Crests , triangular, erect, not reflexed.
Stigma , entire.
Filaments , purple.
Anthers , greenish edged with purple, usually much longer than the filament.
Pollen , greenish.
Capsule , pointed trigonal, walls thin with brown reticulations, dehisces below the apex like I. Bloudowii and the Oncocyclus species (Fig. 13, p. 1 24).
Seeds , large, dark reddish brown, almost black, the large nearly pure white aril being very conspicuous.

Observations.
The colouring of this fine Iris varies considerably and, as some forms have received distinctive names, it may be as well to quote here those which were given by Foster in the Gard. Chron. July 11, 1888, p. 36.
Var. Lez'chtliniana, Garden, Nov. 7, 1885. The standards and falls are nearly pure creamy-white, with fine unobtrusive veins, and the " signal " is of the deepest, almost black, purple.
Var. venosa, Gartenflora, t. 1358, sub nom. var. venosa pulcherrima (Foster in a MS. note wished to change this name to nervosa), is a variety with much more conspicuous veining.
Var. violacea. The olive green or brown of the type is replaced by violet or puce.
Var. concolor, *Bot. Mag. 7025 B, was received by Foster from Eastern Bokhara, and is rather smaller than the type, the spathe valves being broader and shorter, more keeled and flushed with purple. The segments are relatively broader and shorter, the venation being almost wholly obscured by a general violet or purple colour.

Of late years many seedlings of this species have been raised and endless forms have arisen, some of which are intermediate between the above-mentioned. It is impossible to name every variety, although all are so different from any other species, that it is difficult to mistake a specimen of I. Korolkowi for anything else.

When the new growths first pierce the ground in late autumn or winter, some are green and some very deeply flushed with purple. I have so far been unable to connect this character with any others in the flowers. It is obviously parallel to the purple colouration at the base of the leaves of many Pogoniris, of which no satisfactory explanation has yet been given. For cultivation see the introduction to the section (p. 123 ).
Perry 1924;
Yr. Bk. , I.S.(E) 44, 1933,
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Synonyms

"Redvein Iris".

Iris korolkowii var. concolor Foster, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 4: 37 (1888).
Iris korolkowii var. leichtliniana Foster, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 4: 37 (1888).
Iris korolkowii var. venosa Foster, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 4: 37 (1888).
Iris korolkowii var. violacea Foster, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 4: 37 (1888). ----

Chromosome numbers

2n=22, Mitra, 1956; 2n=22 Zakharyeva & Makushenko, 1969; 2n=33 Simonet, 1928, 2n=44 Simonet 1928; 2n=22 Gustafsson & Wendelbo 1975. ----

Variations

Iris korolkowii cultivars: 'Korolkowii Atropurpurea', 'Korolkowii Brown And Green', 'Korolkowii Concolor', 'Korolkowii Incarnata', 'Korolkowii Leichtliniana', 'Korolkowii Pink', 'Korolkowii Polyploid Form', 'Korolkowii Venosa', 'Korolkowii Violacea'. ----

Hybrids

Iris korolkowii crosses

¼ Iris korolkowii crosses: 'Abadan', 'Aigret', 'Ardrun', 'Aril Classic', 'Aril Landmark', 'Aril Messenger', 'Aruna', 'Ballalaika Music', 'Bedouin Nightfall', 'Big Black Bumblebee', 'Desert Olive', 'Desert Shadow', 'Canasta', 'Clotho', 'Code Talker', 'Dear Me', 'Desert Shadow', 'Eulengrund', 'Floating Reserve', 'Genetic Artist', 'Genetic Leader', 'Granite Wells', 'Guinevere', 'Lassen Peak', 'Lemon Frost', 'Leo's Magic', 'Love Conquers All', 'Madam Mohr', 'Magic Light'?, 'Moon Over Shiraz', 'Oyez', 'Open Sesame', 'Persian Embroidery', 'Persian Royalty', 'Persian Twotone', 'Petite Sirrah', 'Precious Memories', 'Radiant Smile', 'Regal Plus', 'Samaritan', 'Satan's Mistress', 'Sea Spray', 'Some Love', 'Temple Dancer', 'Temple Of Shiraz'?, 'Thormila', 'Velvo', 'Violet Splashes', 'Wee Admiral', 'Wee Piper', 'Wee Scot', Zobten'. ----

Distribution & Cultivation

NE. Afghanistan to C. Asia
 


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