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■(SPEC) Iris masia Stapf ex Fos.

1888, Botanical author Stapf

_Iris masia_ Stapf ex Foster. (Collected by Sintenis, 1888, in Sueverek, N. Mesopotamia); Section Limniris, Series Syriacea, Color Code-B7M; named by Otto Stapf 1888; Sir Michael Foster,The Garden 61: 288. 3 May 1902;

See below: ----


Dykes gave the following note in The Gardeners' Chronicle 3rd Ser. 47: 147. 12 Feb.; 5 Mar. 1910;

"Some years ago, when writing of Iris Grant Duffi and Iris Aschersonii (see The Garden, 1902, i., p. 288), the late Sir Michael Foster mentioned a purple-flowered relative of these species, which he had received from Herr Max Leichtlin some years previously under the name of I. Masiae. So far, I have been unable to discover the authority for this name, and should be glad if anyone were able to throw any light upon its origin.

As far as I can ascertain, the plant is not at present in cultivation, but with the help of Foster's MS. Notes and sketches, and of his dried specimen, and of another in the Herbarium at Kew, it is now possible to give a fairly full description of this interesting species. It was only lately that I found at Kew an undetermined species gathered by Sintenis in the course of his journey in the East in 1888 on the steppes near the village of Süverek, on the lower slopes of the Karadja Dagh, a mountain which lies in the district of Diarbekr in northern Mesopotamia. A comparison of this specimen with Foster's material leaves no doubt that the plants are identical, and it was probably from Sintenis that Herr Leichtlin obtained his plants.
The leaves are somewhat rigid, about 18 inches long by ¼ inch wide, much overtopping the stem, which is only 5 to 6 inches long, and bears a sheathing leaf. The spathe valves are very narrow and pointed and no less than 6 inches in length, and yet the flower is borne well above then by reason of the lengthy pedicel of 5 inches. The ovary is of a rounded trigonal shape with a broad groove on each face. Of perianth tube there is practically none, for it is only ¼ inch in length. The falls (2 ½ inches by ½ inch) have a long, narrow haft and a lanceolate blade. The haft bears along the center about five parallel faint purplish veins and a few dots on a greenish ground, and along either side branching red-purple veins on yellowish green. On the blade, of which the greater part is of a rich red-purple, there is a triangular signal patch of creamy-white veined with red-purple. The standards (2 ¼ inches by ½ inch) are oblanceolate, notched at the apex, the blade being of a paler red-purple than the falls, and the short haft veined and dotted with purple on a yellowish ground. The styles are narrow, with large purple crests, and the styles are narrow, with large purple crests, and the stigma conspicuously bilobed.

I. Masiae comes nearest to I. Aschersonii, from which it differs chiefly in the shape of the segments. The haft of the fall is a narrow oblong, and not panduriform, as is that of I. Aschersonii; the standards are relatively much broader and distinctly oblanceolate in shape, while the styles are linear and not oval, as in I. aschersonii, and the crests much larger.

The color, of course is wholly different, though this alone would seem to be no good specific difference, for there appears to be some intimate chemical connection between the yellow and the purple coloring so often found in Irises, a connection so intimate that a slight change in soil or climate is sufficient to produce purple, where yellow occurred in the previous season. This must not be taken to mean that Irises ever produce yellow flowers one year and flowers that are wholly purple the next; but that when a species is found producing pale yellow flowers we may expect that sooner or later, purple forms will appear.

Taking all these differences into account, as well as the more eastern habitat, for I. Aschersonii is known only in the neighborhood of Adana, it seems best to consider this Iris a distinct species."

Barr 1923; Fos. prob. rec'd. the bulbs through Leicht.; syn. Iris grant-duffi var. massiae Foster; Iris masia Fos. Treated as a separate species by Mathew The Iris.



Chromosome counts






Distribution and Cultivation

Distribution: Region:


Photo scanned from the Carol Lankow slide collection

Dykes gave the following note in The Gardeners' Chronicle 3rd Ser. 47: 147. 12 Feb.; 5 Mar. 1910;

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-- BobPries - 2010-02-25
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
masia.JPGJPG masia.JPG manage 418 K 18 May 2019 - 02:19 TerryLaurin Photo scanned from the Carol Lankow slide collection
Topic revision: r9 - 29 Mar 2022, TerryLaurin
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