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(SPEC) Iris ewbankiana Foster

1901, botanical author Foster

Bulbous Iris

Iris ewbankiana (Sir Michael Foster, 1901, Northern Persia, Asia Minor). Section Oncocyclus ; Color Class S2; Iris ewbankiana Foster. [Mathew says it is synonymous to Iris acutiloba C. A. Meyer subsp. lineolata]. Treated below as a possible cultivar.

See below:

ewbankiana.jpgEwbankiana.jpgewbankiana 2252 acutiloba Arvaz USSR Fikso.jpgewbankiana Shockey.jpgI EWBANKIANA EI.jpg


Verz. Pl. Cauc. 32: 1831;
in The Gardeners' Chronicle 3rd Ser. 29: 397. fig. 152. (407) 22 June 1901,Bulbous Iris'Ewbankiana' (Sir Michael Foster, 1901, N. Persia, Asia Minor); Section Oncocyclus; S2; Described by Foster in : "The Rhizome has the ordinary Oncocyclus features. the leaves are glaucous, narrow, and somewhat falcate, not so falcate as in I. acutiloba, but in my specimens, more falcate than I. meda, more falcate for instance than is shown in the accompanying figure. I do not give the dimensions of the leaves or of other parts, since I presume the figure is life-size, and if so, the plant sent by Messrs. Tubergen, from which the figure is drawn, was more vigorous and in all respects larger than any of my plants.

"The scape, some few inches high, bears a single flower. The spathe valves are narrow, pointed, not inflated, reaching above the tube, and quite green, at and some time after flowering The ground color is a creamy white, marked by conspicuous (much smaller in my specimens than in the figure) "signal" of a dark purple, almost black color, formed by the local swelling and confluence of three or four of the veins. The purple brown veins are sufficiently close, but no more so than to give, except for the signal, the effect of a grey tone when the flower is viewed at a distance.
</br."The inner petal (standard) is ovate-lanceolate, of a creamy-white ground color, veined al over with jagged brown-purple veins, which are broader, more jagged and broken over the lower than over the upper part of the petal, where they are narrower, deeper in color, and more even. Over the claw, and over the median parts of the blade, the veins tend to break up into linear series of dots. Along the midline of the claw is a linear incipient beard composed of about a dozen yellow-brown tipped hairs. The style deeply vaulted from side to side, has an upper surface of almost uniform chocolate-brown, and an under surface lighter in color, with brown-purple spots on a yellowish ground. The crests are large, quadrate, marked with thin, broken, brown-purple lines. The filaments of the anther are short and brown, the pollen a of a dingy yellow color...

"It comes near to I. acutiloba and I. meda, which are also Persian Oncocyclus Irises, but is sufficiently distinguished from both by its lanceolate outer segments (falls), which are extended horizontally, and show no tendency to be recurved, as is conspicuously the case in the above two Irises. The small "signal" is also a marked character."
A.M., R.H.S. 1936; J.R.H.S. 61:7, 292. July 1936.
Revue Horticole 73: 398. 1 Sep. 1901 illustrated
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;
Rootstock , a slender rhizome, very similar to that of I. iberica.
Leaves , glaucous, very narrow and somewhat falcate, 6-8 in. long.
Stem , 2-4 in. high, bearing 2-3 reduced leaves.
Spathe valves , narrow pointed, not inflated, reaching above the tube, quite green and persistent after flowering, 2½ in. long.
Pedicel , very short.
Ovary , bright green, cylindrical, thin walled, longer than the tube, 1 in. long.
Tube , about ½ or 3/4 in., green, with vertical brown-purple stripes.
Falls , lanceolate, pointed, with a broad but not very dense beard of stout yellow hairs, tipped with brown. The ground colour is a creamy white, marked by conspicuous irregular or jagged veins of a brown purple colour. The blade is convex and projects horizontally, with no tendency to be recurved. Signal small but conspicuous, of dark purple, almost black colour.
Standards , obovate-lanceolate, of a creamy white ground colour, veined all over with jagged brown purple veins, which are broader, more jagged and broken over the lower than over the upper part. On the haft, which sometimes bears about a dozen yellow, brown-tipped hairs, the veins tend to break up into dots.
Styles , much arched, of an almost uniform chocolate brown, short.
Crests , quadrate, marked with thin, broken, brown-purple lines.
Stigma , oblong, entire.
Filaments , short, brown-purple.
Anthers , large, cream.
Pollen , dingy greenish yellow.
Capsule , cylindrical, with six low ridges, tapering at either end.
Seeds , small, of the usual Oncocyclus character.
This Iris comes near to I. acutiloba and I. meda, but it is distinguished by its lanceolate outer segments, which are extended horizontally and show no tendency to be recurved, as is conspicuously the case in the two above mentioned species. The small sharply defined signal is also a marked character.
The figure in the Gardeners' Chronicle (I.e.) is somewhat misleading, for the plants that I have grown and seen growing' had stems not more than 4 in. high, and this is confirmed by Foster's note, "scape exclusive of flower 2}-3 in." (MS.).
It seems best to class with this Iris both I. Sprengeri and I. Elisabethae, which by Siehe's own admission are very closely allied. As garden plants it may be possible to distinguish them, but from the botanical point of view they must surely be included under one species.
The variety (t) Sprengeri, which is said to grow in the Lycaonian Taurus at a height of 6500 ft. (Siehe in Gard. Chron. I.e.), is of the same size as I. Ewbankiana, but the colouring is slightly different, being produced by purple-red veining on a clear yellow ground.
The variety (t) Elisabethae, from volcanic sandy districts in Central Cappadocia (Siehe in letter), is in cultivation somewhat larger perhaps, and is said to have a groundwork of paler yellow, with purple-brown veins.
My own experience of these plants has been that the groundwork is apt to vary slightly in colour and that the yellow shade is seldom conspicuous. The usual colour is a grey white, which looks perhaps somewhat yellow from the juxtaposition of the crowded red-brown veins. None of them grow rigorously, and all are apt to collapse after flowering unless special precautions are taken to keep the ground dry and warm.
Catalogs of Wal. 1901; Van T. 1929;
Yr. Bk., I.S. (E.) 42. 1933;


Iris ewbankiana Fos. Mathew says it is synonymous to Iris acutiloba subsp. lineolata; A form of I. acutiloba bimaculata has been listed for sale as Iris ewbankiana.

Chromosome counts

2n=20 Awishai & Zohary 1980.

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-- Main.RPries - 2010-01-11
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Ewbankiana.jpgjpg Ewbankiana.jpg manage 301 K 05 Dec 2013 - 19:24 BobPries Biodiversity Heritage Library
I_EWBANKIANA_EI.jpgjpg I_EWBANKIANA_EI.jpg manage 77 K 08 Jul 2016 - 12:19 Main.ruiris from the book 'The Iris' (G. Rodionenko et al., 1981)
ewbankiana.jpgjpg ewbankiana.jpg manage 23 K 26 Feb 2010 - 16:46 Main.Betsy881 ASI Archives photo
ewbankiana_2252_acutiloba_Arvaz_USSR_Fikso.jpgjpg ewbankiana_2252_acutiloba_Arvaz_USSR_Fikso.jpg manage 94 K 05 Dec 2013 - 19:17 BobPries Adam Fisko photo
ewbankiana_Shockey.jpgjpg ewbankiana_Shockey.jpg manage 79 K 05 Dec 2013 - 19:18 BobPries Shockey Photo
Topic revision: r12 - 29 Dec 2017, af.83
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