This Iris was sent to me by Mr. Burbidge, of Dublin, having been gathered by Professor Mahaffy, on Mount Athos, in 188!). It comes very near to I. subbiflora, Brotero, Boi. Mag., t. 11.30, and for some time I was inclined to regard it as a geographical variety of that species ; but this year, Mr. Max Leichtlin has flowered specimens gathered by Bornmuller from the same locality. These are in better condition than my own specimens, and, I think, justify me in giving the plant a specific name. I propose to call it I. Athoa.
The Portugal plant, the true I. subbiflora of Brotero, is a very tender plant, difficult to cultivate in this country, and frequently bears one flower only, even under favourable conditions — hence the name. The Mount Athos plant is much more robust, and bears three flowers or more. The Portugal plant varies in colour, being sometimes a red-purple, sometimes a blue-purple, and, it is said, sometimes yellow. The Mount Athos flower has a peculiar colour, not unlike that of I. Balkana, a browni«h-red-purple, which is conspicuous in many Asian Irises, which is absent from the western Europe forms, and which begins to make its appearance in the forms from eastern Europe ; it is indeed in many ways an acceptable plant. Lastly, the true I. subbiflora is confined to Portugal, and though there are some allied forms on the Italian Riviera and in south Austria, these in no way connect the Portugal with the Mount Athos form, and the geographical separation between the two itself goes far to justify distinct names. At the same time it is certainly singular that two plants in many respects so much alike should be found in two places, so far apart, each with a restricted habitat, with no clear links between them. A small-lowered somewhat dwarf self-coloured variety of I. germanica, has been very widely but erroneously distributed as I. subbiflora. M.F.