| Feinbrun gives the following description in The Iris Year Book 1979, p. 50, illustration facing p. 80; "Roots fleshy. Bulb oblong-ovoid, 3-4 X 2-3,5 cm: tunics grayish-brown, scarious, numerous, produced above the neck. Leaves 5-6(-7), falcate, plicate-canaliculate, acute, veined and with a conspicuous thickened white margin, 2,5-4 cm. broad at flowering time; the uppermost leaf-sheath is not dilated. Flowers 1-2, more rarely up to 5. Valves of spathe pale yellow, acute. Perianth mostly pale blue, more rarely pale lilac to nearly white, translucent. Outer perianth-segments (falls) about 4,5 cm. long; winged part of the claw up to 2,5 cm. broad; wings turned upwards; median line yolk-yellow and purple-doted and -striate; limb rounded, provided with a yolk-yellow crest arising from a yolk-yellow, white-margined zone. Inner perianth-segments (standards) short and narrow, 2-2,5 X 0,6-0,8 cm, spreading, spathulate, usually truncate and apiculate. Style-branches ending in ovate-rounded obtuse lobes. Capsule 5-7 cm, ellipsoid. Seeds nearly globose, wrinkled, about 4 mm. Flowering January-February. 2n=22."
"I. regis-uzziae differs from I. aucheri in its squat growth, fewer leaves and the yolk-yellow colour of its crest. It differs from nusairiensis in its uppermost leaf-sheath not being dilated and in the crest arising from a yolk-yellow zone surrounded by a white margin.
| SIGNA 26: 872-874. April 1981.
A NEW IRIS FROM ISRAEL
ABSTRACT: A new Iris, I. regis-uzziae Feinbr., (Iridacae) belonging to subgen. Scorpiris Spach (subgenus Juno (Tratt.) Baker) and endemic to the Central Negev and S. Jordan is described. The chromosome number has been counted as 2n=22.
Several species of Iris subgenus Scorpiris Spach (subgenus Juno (Tratt.) Baker) are now known in the E. Mediterranean and the adjacent Irano-Turanian territories. They can be subdivided into two groups . The first comprises two species, Iris pataestina Baker and I. edomensis Sealy and is characterised by oblong acute to acuminate stylar branches and by perianth-segments marked with 1 mm broad oblong spots on a whitish background; in this group outer perianth-segments are ecristate. The other group contains I. aucheri Baker) Sealy, I. nusairiensis Mouterde and the new species described here, I . regis-uzziae. These species have ovate-rounded, obtuse stylar branches and are devoid of spot markings on the perianth-segments . The outer perianth-segments (Falls) are either uniformly coloured or marked with darker veins, and have a conspicuous yellow or orange crest, absent in the species of the first group.
Of these species, I. palaestina and I . nusairiensis are E. Mediterranean and the others Irano-Turanian. I. edomensis is endemic in S. Transjordan, I. regis-uzziae in this- and Transjordan, while the area of I. aucheri extends from SE Antolia (?), N. Syria and N. Iraq to W. Iran. Sealy (Kew bull.1949:562 (1950) recorded a specimen of I. aucheri from S. Transjordan collected by P.H. Davis (D8839).
I. regis-uzziae differs from I. aucheri in its squat growth, fewer leaves and the yolk-yellow crest. It differs from I. nusairiensis~ which it resembles in its general habit, by its uppermost leaf-sheath not being dilated, and in the yolk-yellow crest arising from a zone of similar colour surrounded by a white margin.
</br. Iris regis-uzziae
Feinbr. sp. nov . Fig. 1.,
Radices carnosae. Bulbus ovoideus, 3-4 x 2-3 .5 em; tunicae fuscobrunneae, scariosae, numerosae, ultra collum productae. Caulis brevis, 1-2 florus . Folia 5-6 (-7), falcata, plicato-canalieulata, acuta, multinervia, marginibus conspicue alboincrassatis; inferiore tempore florendi usque ad 2,5-4 cm lata; folii supremi vagina non dilatata. Flores 1-2 . Spathe valvae pallide virides, acutae. Perianthium pallide caeruleum, lilacinum vel pallide lilacium usque ad fere albidum plus minusve translucens. Segmenta exteriora c. 4,5 cm longa; ungue parte alata usque as 2.5 ern lata, alia sursum flexis; linea mediana vitellina p~rpureo-punctata et striata; lamina rotundata; crista vitellina elevata zona vitellina albo-marginata cincta. Segmenta interiora 2-2,5 x 0,6-0,8 cm, patentia, spathulata, apice saepe truncate et apicuiata. Styli ramorum lobi ovato-rotundati. obtusi. Capsula 5-7 em, ellipsoidea. Semina subgl obosa, rugosa, c. 4 mm. Floret Januatio-Februario. 2n=22,
Habitu I. nusairiensis Mouterde sed ab ea differt segmentorum crista vitelline elevata zona vitellina albo-marginata cincta, foliii supremi vagina non dilatata. Differt ab I . aucheri (Baker) Sealy statura minore., foliis paucioibus (5-6 non 8), segmentorum exteriorum crista vitellina. Differt atr I. edomensi Sealy perianthio non maculis longitudinalibus atro-purpureis copiose notato, segmentorum exteriorum crista elevata ~itellina, foliis latioribus.
Type: C. Negev, Mitzpe-Ramon, loessy hammada, Artemisietum herbae-albae, together with Rheum palaestinum Feinbr., Crocus damasaenus Herb., Malabaila. sekakuZ (Mill . ) Boiss., Colchicum tunicatum Feinbr.? 890 m, 31 i 1978, Varda Raviv s.d. (halo, HUJ; iso. E). 674 I
Hab.: Rocky and haremadoid slopes, in artemisietum herbae-albae and in Zygophylletum dumosi, S00-1000 m above sea level; annual precipitation 100-200 mm. ·· Highlands .of C Negev uud S. Jordan . Israel: . C Negev: Wadi Murra, near canyon (En Avedat), 4 iv 1950, leaves, Y.D'Angelis 13391 (HUJ); edge of Y~khtesh Wadi Hathira, SW of Qurnub, artemisietum herbae-albae, 10 iv 1950, D. Zohary 13393 (HUJ) ; between Wadi Murra and Tel Rakhma, 25 iii 1952, leaves, M. Zohary 13392 (HUJ); Nahal Nitzana, broad v7adi, loess, 900 m, iii 1967, flovers, .A. - Da:r~:in s.n. (HUJ); C Arava Valley, toladi Ajrim, 24 iv 1950, leaves, Y. D'Angelis s.n. (HUJ)'. Several colour transparencies from C Negev are available.
Two colour slides, kindly lent to me from the Kew photographic collection, seem to be of I. regis-uzziae both taken at Ras en Naqb, .Edom (S. Jordan) . One of the sliides by D. Birkinshaw, 13 ii 1966, shows bluish flcwers; the other by L.Boulos, 12 ti 1974, shows cream-coloured flowers .
This endemic species was first collected in the early forties on the eastern slope of Mt. Scopus of Jerusalem by the late T. Kushnir . The bulbs collected in the Artemisietum herbae-albae on Senonian chalky soil were planted but no specimen: has been preserved. Later, from the fifties on, the plant has been repeatedly observed, collected and photographed in the highlands of Central Negev; there are many cisterns assqciated with King Uzziah (Chronicles II 26,10) in the area and hence the name I. regis-uzziae was chosen.
The following is a translation from Hebrew of an extract from an article by Dr. Daniel Shimshi (Beer-Sheva, Israel), who published the results of his observations on I. regis-uzziae in Teva Vaax>etz 16(6): 271-272 (1974). "This iris appears soutq of the line Bik'l Tsin -Har Boker and reaches Mt. Ramon. It is frequent around Aved.at. Its bulb is oblong and situated at the depth of 10-15 em; the tunics are membranous and persist ·for a few years only. The characteristic thick roots as well as the bulb serve as reserve organs. The leaves appear after the first rains; they are' dark green with a white margin. At an early stage one can distinguish specimens which will flower during the current year from those that will not do so. In the later, leaves do not exceed three in number and their width does not reach 1 cm; the "former have more numerous leaves and the lower leaves are up to 4 em wide. The flowers appear between the middle of January and the end of February, their height is about 10 cm. The falls are light sky-blue, with a deep yellow blotch at base. The standards are reflexed . In contrast to I. palaestina, the flowers are scentless. Towards the end of the growing season, in April-May, the capsules mature. The seeds are dispersed, as in the majority of Iris species, by ants. Last year's bulb scalep shr;l.vel while new ones i.Lll with reserve materials. At the sam~ time new thickened · roots develop instead of the shrivelled old ones. The bulb thus is annual . Bulbs ' develop usually in the axils of bulb scales. As a result, one often finds clusters of bulbs".
Mr. Gideon Schutz of Beer Sheva reported on our new Negev species at an internat;onal Iris conference in Florence in 1963. He gave the following details on the vegetation at the sites of I. regis-uzziae in the Negev highlands. "The soil is calcareous and rocky, mixed with eolian loess. Trees are rare. The tree species are Pistacia atlantica and Acacia raddiana. The dwarf shrubs are Artemisia herba-alba, Reamuria palaestina, Haloxylon artiaulatum. The geophytes include Ornithogalum tricophyllum, Urginea undulate, Bellevalia desertorum, Sciilla hanburii, Gagea reticulate, Colchicum tunicatum, _Tulipa amplyophylla, etc." Mr Schultz sent some bulbs to the late Prof. M. Simonet who counted 2n = 22, 6 average sized rods, 2 longer rods and'.14 V-shaped very long chromosomes.) ·
ED: Reprinted from NOTES FROM THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN (Edingurgh) 3?.0): ?5-58, 19?8
NAOMI FEINBRUN is with the Dept. of Botany, THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM.