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■ (SPEC) Iris imbricata Lindley

1845, Botanical author Lindley

Iris imbricata Lindley (John Lindley, 1845, collected Transcaucasia); Section Iris. 12-24" (30-60 cm); Inflated pale green membranous imbricated bracts are key character; Flowers pale yellow or bluish; See below:
Dykes Fig 23.jpgDykes fig 24.jpgImbricata.JPGimbricata02.JPGImbricata1FromBulletin.jpgimbricata20.jpgImbricata 2.jpgImbricataBotReg.jpgIris-imbricataBaumunk1.jpgIris-imbricataBaumunk2.jpgIris-imbricataMathis.jpgIris-imbricataRaschun.jpgIris-imbricataWalker1.jpg


Lindley in Edwards’s Botanical Register, vol. 31: t. 35 (1845) [S.A. Drake], ; offers this original description: (translated from Latin)-"Foliage wide, rigid, erect, scape with short branches, oval bracts, leafy and opposite each other, with a membranous tip, and tightly imbricated, Sepals bearded and rounded at tip, petals obovate, shallowly notched. Perianth tube short."

Lindley makes the further comments "This is a very showy perennial, which most probably will prove quite hardy in the open border, if planted in a rich sandy loam and warm situation. It is increased by dividing the old plants any time from October to March, and flowers about the end of May.

Our specimens were forwarded in May, 1844, from Spofforth by the Hon. And Very Rev. the Dean of Mancester. With the history of the plant we are unacquainted.

It is probable that it is a mere variety of I. squalens; from which it differs in its pure lemon-coloured flowers, and in the imbricated short blunt convex bracts which invest their base."
As obtusifolia Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, t. 7692-7751, vol. 126 [ser. 3, vol. 56]: t. 7701 (1900) [M. Smith] J. G. Baker wrote "This new Iris is nearly allied to I. lutescens. Lam. (Bot. Mag. t. 2861), and 7. Statellae, Todaro (Bot. Mag. t. 6894), from both of which it differs by its laxly arranged obtuse leaves, very ventricose spathe-valves, and by having a sessile lateral cluster of flowers in addition to the end one.

It was discovered by the late Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lake Wells in the year 1895, in the province of Mazanderan, on the south of the Caspian Sea. Colonel Wells describes this province as " a lovely country, full of beautiful flowers, and amongst others I found a yellow Iris, growing beside the streams at an elevation of about seven thousand feet above sea-level." He sent it in 1897 to the Royal Gardens, Kew, in a living state, and our drawing was made from a plant that flowered in the bulb-house in April, 1899.

Descr. — Eootstoclc robust, shortly creeping. Leaves six, distichous, mostly basal, pale green, ligulate, obtuse, the largest six or eight inches long at the flowering season, by an inch broad. Stem a foot long, bearing one terminal and one sessile lateral cluster of flowers. Spathe-valves oblong-navicular, very ventricose, two or three inches long, pale green at the flowering season; pedicels very short. Perianth sulphur-yellow; tube very short; outer segments of the limb obovate-cuneate, two inches by an inch broad above the middle, reflexing from the middle, furnished with an orange-yellow beard more than halfway up; inner segments erect, as long as the outer, cordate-orbicular, with a short, narrow claw. Style-branches pale yellow, an inch long ; crests deltoid, irregularly toothed on the outer edge.--February 1st, 1900.
"Bearded Irises Tried at Wisley"-Journal of The Royal Horticultural Society p,127 151.;
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;

Rootstock , a stout compact rhizome.
Leaves , broad, ensiform, pale yellowish-green, the outer leaves of each tuft being often very blunt and rounded at the tip (see Fig. 24).
Stem , I 2-20 in. high, bearing a crowded compact inflorescence, the lateral buds being nearly sessile, each set in a ventricose navicular bract (cf. Fig. 23).
Spathe valves , very inflated and navicular, light green, membranous, hardly scarious even at the tip, 2-2¼ in. long, the outer valve being sharply keeled.
*Pedicel* , very short.
Ovary , rounded hexagonal, with six shallow grooves, bright green, walls very thick.
Tube , about an inch long, bright green, faintly mottled with brown purple spots.
Falls , obovate cuneate, of a greenish-yellow colour, veined with brown purple on the haft and sometimes also on the blade. The beard is composed of stout densely set whitish hairs, tipped with bright orange.
Standards , the blade is a rounded oblong, narrowing sharply to the haft which is mottled with red-brown. The colour is the same greenish yellow as the falls.
Styles , very broad, pale, semitransparent yellow, keeled.
Crests , almost quadrate, with a much serrated edge.
Stigma , entire, oblong.
Filaments , short, colourless or very pale yellow, sometimes tinged with faint mauve.
Anthers , white or very pale yellow.
Pollen , cream.
Capsule , 2 in. long, nearly circular in section, tapering gradually to either end.
Seeds , brown, wrinkled, compressed, with a faint, small, whitish aril.

This yellow Iris from the Caucasus was apparently in cultivation in the time of Lindley but was confused with Redoute's I. flavescens from which it is easily separated by its membranous, inflated, green spathes, which at the flowering time are only slightly scarious towards the tip and edge, while those of I. flavescens are not inflated and are moreover nearly wholly scarious.

In certain conditions, possibly when the soil is deficient in lime, I. imbricata produces flowers in which the yellow colour is spoilt by dull, diffuse, irregular purple veins and blotches. Fig. 24 represents three leaves of one tuft of this Iris. It will be noticed that the outermost is extremely blunt, while the other two are distinctly more pointed. I. obtusifolia was so named, probably from freshly imported material in which the central pointed leaves had not had time to develop. I have raised seedlings of the original Kew plants of I. obtusifolia and am unable to separate them from plants sent to me direct from the Caucasus or from seedlings raised from seed from the same source.

The distinction between I. imbricata and the yellow-flowered form of I. Alberti is somewhat difficult to determine. The plants look very different when growing side by side and yet it is hard to define the difference apart from the colour. On the whole, they may be separated by the following characters : I. imbricata is the dwarfer plant and has the outer spathe valve keeled, the lateral branches are also verv short so that the inflorescence is verv crowded (see Fig. 23). The hairs of the beard are yellow for their whole length and not bluish-white tipped with yellow as in I. Alberti. The filaments are not infrequently mauve.
Berry 1929;
Bull. A.I.S. 57: 96., 97. Apr. 1935,

Iris imbricata Lind!.

Under the names of Iris sulphurea and Iris Talischii this plant has been received from the Triflis Botanic Garden and although there is some difference in the coloring of the several seedlings in each lot, there is hardly. enough to warrant even garden separation, although the seedlings in the lot labelled I. sulphurea are a very decent pale yellow color and there is little of the reddish markings on the inside of the hafts. Dykes (The Genus Iris, p. 180) mentions the fact that under some conditions the falls are often marred by "dull, diffuse, irregular purple veins and blotches." Our plants have shown no blotches but some faint veins particularly in the area about the beard. There was a marked difference in the carriage of the falls, most of which would not please the fancier of bearded iris. Dykes (ibid.) notes that this iris is difficult to distinguish from the yellow-flowered form of Iris Albertii, but of the latter plant we have no comparative material.

The illustration of this species in Botanical Register XXXI, pI.35 (1845) is well drawn, but has more green coloring than any specimen seen here. The text is less valuable.

The figure in Curtis Botanical Magazine Tab. No. 1 (1900) is less characteristic and the text valuable chiefly for the note concerning the introduction by the "late Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lake Wells in the year 1895, in the province of Mazanderan, on the south of the Caspian Sea. Colonel Wells describes this province as a "lovely country, full of beautiful flowers, and amongst others I found a yellow Iris, growing beside the streams at an elevation of about seven thousand feet above sea-leveL" In a time when all the breeders of tall bearded iris are striving for tall yellows of the best types, it is hardly to be expected that anyone would be keen about this plant that fails so far in theirfloristic standards. ;


Iris flavescens, Sweet: Iris obtusifolia, Baker; Iris sulphurea, C. Koch; Iris talischii, Fos. ex Sprenger. ----

Chromosome count;

2n=24, Gustafsson & Wendelo 1975. ----




It is alleged that imbricata breeding provided dominant reverse amoenas in the Tall-bearded Irises


Distribution & Cultivation

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-- Main.RPries - 2010-02-08
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Dykes_Fig_23.jpgjpg Dykes_Fig_23.jpg manage 470 K 04 Nov 2016 - 16:47 BobPries  
Dykes_fig_24.jpgjpg Dykes_fig_24.jpg manage 334 K 04 Nov 2016 - 16:47 BobPries  
Imbricata.JPGJPG Imbricata.JPG manage 70 K 30 Jan 2011 - 13:24 IrisP  
Imbricata1FromBulletin.jpgjpg Imbricata1FromBulletin.jpg manage 117 K 12 Jul 2016 - 16:05 BobPries Bulletin of The American Iris Society p, 99, April 1935
ImbricataBotReg.jpgjpg ImbricataBotReg.jpg manage 229 K 07 Nov 2013 - 12:21 BobPries Biodiversity Heritage Library
Imbricata_2.jpgjpg Imbricata_2.jpg manage 119 K 12 Jul 2016 - 16:06 BobPries Bulletin of The American Iris Society
Iris-imbricataBaumunk1.jpgjpg Iris-imbricataBaumunk1.jpg manage 40 K 26 Jul 2016 - 13:10 BobPries Lowell Baumunk photo
Iris-imbricataBaumunk2.jpgjpg Iris-imbricataBaumunk2.jpg manage 121 K 26 Jul 2016 - 13:11 BobPries Lowell Baumunk photo
Iris-imbricataMathis.jpgjpg Iris-imbricataMathis.jpg manage 85 K 26 Jul 2016 - 13:11 BobPries Harold Mathis photo
Iris-imbricataRaschun.jpgjpg Iris-imbricataRaschun.jpg manage 92 K 26 Jul 2016 - 13:12 BobPries Gerhard Raschun jun.,
Iris-imbricataWalker1.jpgjpg Iris-imbricataWalker1.jpg manage 73 K 26 Jul 2016 - 13:13 BobPries Ken Walker photo
imbricata02.JPGJPG imbricata02.JPG manage 161 K 24 Jan 2019 - 16:12 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Nyla Hughes slide collection
imbricata20.jpgjpg imbricata20.jpg manage 74 K 09 Jul 2021 - 14:51 Main.TLaurin Photo by Sandor Szasz-Iriszkert-Hungary
Topic revision: r15 - 04 Aug 2022, Harloiris
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