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■ (SPEC) Iris lurida Solander

Iris lurida 1789, Solander ( or Aiton)

Iris lurida (Daniel Solander, 1789, collected Bozen, Tyrol) IB, Midseason bloom. Color Code-S9D; This was originally described as a new species but Dykes and others suggest it is a natural cross between iris pallida and Iris variegata. The world Checklist gives it as a synonym of Iris x germanica perhaps because it was classed as a tall-bearded Iris.

See below:
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Iris × lurida Aiton, Hort. Kew. 1: 68 (1789).
Curtis's Botanical Magazine table 986, 1807 offered the following description with the plate to the right;
Iris lurida "Root fleshy, horizontal; Herb cespitose; leaves shorter than stem, which is from a foot to a foot and half high, subcompressedly round with about three branches issuing from herbaceous two-valved bracts, which are sometimes longer than the branches and give the involucre the appearance of being four-valved. Involucres herbaceous, rather inflated, about equal to the tube with a purplish sphacelate edge, terminal one to two flowered with a middle one-valved spathe, the rest generally one flowered. Tube about equal to the outer laminae, of a yellowish green; ungues turbinately patent, rather distant, convolute, of a livid yellow with purplish blotches; inner ones nearly twice the shortest and narrowest; outer laminae revolutely deflected, narrowest, and rather longest, oblong oval, rather convex, dark dingy purple with whitish streaks in the middle of its base, inner round-obovate, connivent-erect, subundulate, subpellucid, purplish; cilias deep yellow with purple brown tips; stigmas erect-patent, linear-oblong, lividly tallow, keel and both lips purplish; Segments of inner lip revolute, acute; outer quite entire and purple. Anthers purplish, shorter than the white filaments. Germ sub-sessile trigonal-oblong, six-sulcate, and nearly three times shorter than the tube. Flowers early in May; its bloom is sweetish, and not entirely scentless, as described in Hort. Kew. Where it is suspected to be a variety of Iris sambucina; native of the southern parts of Europe; cultivated by Miller in 1758. Our specimen had a rather larger-flower, and its laminae were rather more undulate than usual. The drawing was taken at the Nursery of Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes, Kensington."
Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 53: Pt 1. page 145 January 1928, Trials
Listed by Dickson 1794
Redoute in Lese Liliaceae table 318, 1812
Listed by Prince 1823
Gardeners' Chronicle vol 20, page 373, 1883 Iris variegata Hybrids with Pallida
Foster in Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 15: 3. October 1889
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913, Gives the following


Rootstock , a rhizome, somewhat more slender than that of I. germanica.
Leaves , ensiform, rather narrow, about 6-8 in. long at flowering time but growing eventually to a foot in height.
Stem , about 18 in., bearing four bract-like leaves and a terminal head of two flowers and sometimes one lateral flower.
Spathe valves , green flushed with purple in the lower half and scarious in the upper part, not keeled, 2 in. long.
Pedicel , very short, only l in.
Ovary , cylindrical or very obscurely trigonal, with thick walls.
Tube , about I in., yellow-green, trigonal.
Falls , long and narrow, spathulate, with a reddish-maroon blade, the haft bearing veins of the same colour on a yellow ground. The beard consists of orange hairs and is very prominent. 3 in. by I in.
Standards , oval, unguiculate, emarginate, connivent, brownish-purple, concolor, the haft being yellowish with brown-purple mottlings; slightly shorter than the falls. 2:f in. by 1-i in.
Styles , yellow with a purple keel.
Crests , small, darker than the styles, brownish-purple, subquadrate with jagged edges.
Stigma , large, oblong, entire.
Filaments , yellowish-white rather longer than the anthers. Anthers , cream.
Pollen , cream.
Capsule ,
Seeds ,


This Iris has been the subject of much confusion which was created by Spach when he described (I.e.) an I. Redouteana as different from I. lurida. He bases his description on Redoute's description and figure and says that it differs from Willdenow's I. lurida. As, however, both Redoute and Willdenow quote Solander's original description in the Hortus Kewensis, it is difficult to see what ground Spach had for setting up his species. The plant described and figured by Solander and Redoute is still in cultivation and is not improbably of hybrid origin. The colour and the shape of the falls seem to point to I. variegata as one of the parents and the theory of its hybrid origin is supported by the fact that it appears to be sterile. The only difficulty is that it flowers early, about a month before I. variegata.

Cultivation is easy and the plant is valuable for its flowers of a somewhat unusual colour. It has the additional advantage of sometimes flowering a second time in the autumn, which is a further argument in support of the theory of its hybrid origin. In cultivating a large collection of Irises, it will be found that hybrids are much more apt to flower a second time in the autumn than are species.

Spach's I. lurida (Hist. Veg. Phan. xm. p. 56 (1846)), which he identifies with Bot. Mag. t. 669 (1803), has larger, slightly paler reddish-purple flowers than the real I. lun'da and also a taller and more ample inflorescence. It was probably one of the sambucina or squalens hybrids of which there are innumerable forms (see p. 234).
Listed by Sheets 1928; Vilmorin 1938; and Katkameir 1939



Chromosome counts






Distribution and Cultivation

Distribution: Region:


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-- LaurieFrazer - 2010-01-17
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Lurida_small.jpgjpg Lurida_small.jpg manage 50 K 07 Aug 2012 - 20:24 UnknownUser Bot. Mag Table 986
irislurida.jpgjpg irislurida.jpg manage 55 K 17 Jan 2010 - 04:08 Main.htb ©2005 Laurie Frazer
larida.JPGJPG larida.JPG manage 360 K 07 May 2019 - 02:43 Main.TLaurin Photo by Carol Lankow
larida2.JPGJPG larida2.JPG manage 346 K 07 May 2019 - 02:46 Main.TLaurin Photo by Carol Lankow
Topic revision: r11 - 07 May 2019, TLaurin
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