■ (SPEC) Iris albicans Lange
1860, Botanical author Lange
Iris albicans Lange
(Johan Martin Christian Lange
, 1860). Section Iris
, Height 16-20" (40-55 cm) Usually white flowered with a few olive green veins at haft, beard white tipped yellow becoming all yellow in throat. Evergreen foliage. Of all the tall-bearded Iris species that have been reported with white flowers this can be easily distinguished by its form of branching. This can be separated from the other three, Iris germanica
, Iris florentina
, and Iris kashmiriana
, by its short branches and almost spur-like secondary branches. It is a very intriguing species in that we are still unsure of from where it originates. Although it is said to come from Yemen, it is so widely planted on moslem gravesites, it can be found throughout the Mediterranean region.
| Lange first described in Kjoeb. Vidensk. Meddel. (1860) 76.
| Dykes in the Genus Iris 1913 Observations. If the explanation be correct that I have put forward (see p. 155) as to the origin of this Iris and as to the cause of its wide distribution, then it is one of the few cases in which the albino form of an Iris has been described and named before the coloured form. In spite of this it seems best to classify I. Madonna under the same heading as I. albicans in order to avoid the multiplication of specific names. I. albicans is fairly common in cultivation but often misnamed either I. florentina or I. germanica alba. Both the latter are, I have no doubt, albino forms of varieties of I. germanica and I. albicans can easily be distinguished from them by the following characteristics : (i} The inflorescence of I. albicans is much more compact and the branches much shorter. (Contrast Plate XXXV with Plate XXXVI and Fig. 21, p. 163.) (ii) The foliage is stiffer, broader and usually slightly twisted, when full grown.(iii) The absence of any hairs on the inner side of the base of the standards.(iv) The shape of the segments and especially of the falls, which in I. albicans appear pointed though they are not really so when flattened out. The variety Madonna is perhaps not yet quite acclimatised in England and still needs a warm sunny position to do well.
44 chromosomes, indicate this is probably of an ancient hybrid origin, and may account for its limited fertility.
The chromosome count of 44 has indicated that the species arose through a cross with a 40 chromosome species and a 48 chromosome species and different hypotheses have been given for its origin. Even though it seems to be of very limited fertility it is traditionally included as a separate species of ancient hybrid origin.
2n=44, Colasante & Sauer, 1993; 2n=44, Perez & Pasto, 1994.
Sports of purple flowered plants occur in natural populations and in the garden but the species is normally white flowered. 'Madonna' is a purple sport pictured with the normal white in Dykes' Genus Iris
The following cultivars
have been recorded: 'Madonna'
, 'Prince Of Wales'
hybrid cultivars noted: 'Berenice'
and 'Wanganui Gem'
Distribution and Cultivation
| Distribution: Region:
| Cultivation: seems to be the same as most bearded irises with perhaps a special emphasis on good drainage
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-- Main.RPries - 2009-12-01