See Show Calender


You are here: Iris Wiki>Spec Web>SpeciesIrises>SpecMilesii (03 Oct 2023, TLaurin)Edit Attach

■ (SPEC) Iris milesii Foster

1883, Botanical author Foster

_'Iris milesii'_ Foster. ( Sir Michael Foster, 1883, India, China); Subgenus Limniris, Section Lophiris, Evansia Section; Height 12-30" (30-75 cm); Color Code-B8M; Pinkish lavender with deep-purple markings on falls, See below:
Iris-milesii-1Walker.jpgIris-milesii-2Walker.jpgIris-milesii-3Murrain.jpgIris-milesii-6Plotner.jpgIris-milesii-7Walker.jpgIris-milesii-8Walker.jpgIris-milesii-Lankow.jpgIris-milesii-Lankow2.jpgIris milesii KWW 1.JPGIrismilesii1Walker.jpgIrismilesii3Walker.jpgMilesii.JPGmilesii01.jpgmilesii02.JPGMilesii1.JPGmilesii5.JPGMilesii plate 6886.jpgSIGNA 09CR040 milesii light  dark enlarged.jpgSIGNA 09CR040 milesii light  dark mixed.jpg


Foster in The Gardeners' Chronicle New Ser. 20: 231. 25 Aug. 1883;
Baker offers the following note in Curtis's Botanical Magazine, T 6889, 1886,(SPEC) Iris milesii"This interesting new Iris was received in seed by Mr. Frank Miles from the Kulu and Parbutta valleys of the North-Western Himalayas, an first flowered in this country in the summer of 1883, when it was described by Professor Foster in The Gardeners' Chronicles. We have also received dried specimens from Dr. Brandis, which were gathered by himself in flower in the Parbutta valley in October, 1876. It is said to grow at an elevation above sea-level of 14,000 feet, so that it comes decidedly within the bounds of temperate region. The flowers are handsome, but fugitive. Botanically it is very distinct and interesting as furnishing a link of transition between the fimbriated and bearded Irises (the sections Evansia and Pogoniris), for the crest is so deeply fimbriated as to have almost become a beard. Its nearest allies are the Chinese Iris tectorum, Maxim. And the well-known Iris japonica, Thunb. Our drawing was made from a specimen sent by Mr. Lynch from the Cambridge Botanic Garden in May, 1886.

Descr. Rootstock creeping to a length of half a foot or more. Leaves seven or eight to a stem, distichous, ensiform, pale green, firm in texture, tapering gradually to a point, one and a half or two feet long, an inch and a half broad. Flowering-stem three feet long, bearing three or four clusters of flowers. Flowers three or four in a cluster, bright lilac, fugitive, inodorous; spathe-valves ovate or oblong, moderately firm in texture, green at the flowering-time, an inch or an inch and a half long; pedicels nearly quite as long as the spathe. Ovary clavate; tube short, cylindrical; limb above two inches long; outer segments obovate, under an inch broad, with lines of darker lilac radiating from the deeply fimbriated yellow crested keel; inner segments rather shorter than the outer, more ascending, obovate-unguiculate, concolorous. Anthers linear white, basifixed. Styles lilac, above an inch long; appendages quadrate, deeply fimbriated." Sealy (1937) offers another description; "Rootstock a thick fleshy rhizome expanded towards the apex, gree above, prominently marked with the scars of fallen leaves and leaf-scales, bearing at it expanded portion (1) a number of fleshy roots, (2) a terminal leafy flowering stem, and (3) two lateral and opposite buds which are destined to continue the growth of the plant. When the flowering stem has reached maturity, each of these buds grows out and gives rise to a tuft of leaves. The new shoots continue to grow away from the old flowering rhizome and continue to produce leaves until the end of the shoot is some distance from the old flowering stem and has become swollen and expanded. This is usually accomplished by the end of the growing season, and the leaves then die down and are succeeded the following season by a flowering stem. Basal leaves thin, distinctly ribbed, slightly glaucous on both sides, 45-60 cm. long, 2.5-5 cm. wide (up to over 90 cm. by 7.5 cm vide Foster). Flowering stem
Francis 1920; Old Farm 1927; Wal. 1934 Per. 1938;
Krel. 1897; Van T. 1900; 1938; Grull. 1907;
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;
Rootstock , a thick fleshy rhizome, of a pale-green colour on the upper surface, with distinct rings where old leaves have become detached.
Leaves , of a pale, yellowish-green, 2 feet or slightly more in length, 2-3 in. wide, thin, ribbed.
Stem , 1-3 ft.; rises from a distichous tuft of many reduced leaves, much branched, with a pointed, bractlike leaf at each fork.
Spathes , 2-3 or more flowered; valves keeled, pointed, green, scarious at the margin.
Pedicel , about I-Ii in. long, semicircular in section.
Ovary , dark green, triangular, with no obvious constriction at the base of the tube.
Tube , about ½ in., pale green.
Falls . Blade about 1¼ in. long, haft I in. Blade oblong with a curiously blunted, emarginate end, pale reddish purple, with darker veins and blotches. Haft white marked with deep purple veins.
Crest orange with purple spots along the base, very much cut up so as to become almost a beard.
Standards , rf in. by fin., oblong, spreading, with canaliculate haft; apex marginate with a distinct tooth in the centre of the notch.
Styles , about 1 in. long.
Crests , quadrate with a fimbriated edge.
Stigma" , obscurely bilobed.
, short but slightly longer than the anthers.
Anthers, short, cream.
Pollen , white, similar to that of I. tectorum but somewhat smaller and of a less pointed oval.
Capsule , oblong, much rounded, trigonal, somewhat inflated, with thin parchment-like walls, with slightly raised transverse veins.
Seeds , very dark almost black, pyriform, with a slight ridge running down one side and a minute white aril.
This Iris was named by Foster after Frank Miles, who introduced it into cultivation about 1880 from seeds collected by his cousin in Kulu. Some of these seeds were sent to Max Leichtlin and it was from him that Foster obtained the plants which he eventually described in the Gardeners' Chronicle. A later manuscript note makes it quite clear that the Manipur plant seemed to Foster to be merely I. Milesii and this is supported by the type of Baker's I. Wattii (K), which is obviously I. Milesii.

Baker's description of his species exactly fits the latter except for the apparent absence of crest, which is not easy to distinguish even in very carefully dried specimens. From the decorative point of view this is distinctly a disappointing Iris. The foliage is bolder and more vigorous than that of nearly any other species and the much branched stem excites the curiosity of those who have not seen the flowers. These however are somewhat insignificant, for they are small, fugitive, and of a colour that is not altogether pleasing. It would seem to have possibilities for the hybridiser but, unfortunately, though self-fertilised flowers set abundant seed, pollen of other species seems hitherto to have had no effect. If the flowers of I. tectorum could be combined with the habit of I. Milesii; the result would be really valuable.

There is said to be a variety superba with much finer flowers than the type but I have never so far met with a specimen worthy of the name. Seedlings have shown very little, if any, variation. I. Milesii is in many respects intermediate between I. tectorum and I. japonica. In the branching stem, the small fugitive flowers and the ring-like scars on the greenish rhizome, it closely resembles I. japonica, from which however it differs, in common with I. tectorum, in not being stoloniferous and in the deciduous character of the leaves. Autumn frosts that leave the foliage of I. japonica untouched, soon destroy that of I. Milesii·. Cultivation is comparatively easy and the directions apply that are given under the Observations on I. tectorum.

Chromosome counts

2n=26, Simonet, 1932; 2n=26, Chimphamba, 1973. ----


Himalayan Iris

Tectiris milesii (Baker ex Foster) M.B.Crespo, Mart.-Azorín & Mavrodiev, Phytotaxa 232: 56 (2015). ----


'Wildwood Willie' ----




Distribution & Cultivation

W. Himalaya, Tibet to SC. China

Please do not enter images that are not your own without owners' permission, this is against Wiki policy

"Although the Encyclopedia is free to all, it is supported by Emembership in AIS, If you would like to help sustain this reference, for $15 you can become an Emember, click here."

Interested in Iris Species? Please visit the: Species Iris Group of North America website.

To Report errors do not use comment box but contact the Iris Encyclopedia Photo Manager or Iris Encyclopedia Manager Comment box is reserved for added information about the topic.

Your Observations Are Valued. Please make note of bud count, branching, purple based foliage and bloom time, etc. Because these are affected by climate, note date, year and geographic location and write these and other comments in the comment box below.


-- Main.RPries - 2010-02-24
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Iris-milesii-1Walker.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-1Walker.jpg manage 33 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:35 BobPries Ken Walker photo
Iris-milesii-2Walker.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-2Walker.jpg manage 59 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:36 BobPries Ken Walker photo
Iris-milesii-3Murrain.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-3Murrain.jpg manage 62 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:37 BobPries Jim Murrain photo
Iris-milesii-6Plotner.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-6Plotner.jpg manage 15 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:37 BobPries Will Plotner photo
Iris-milesii-7Walker.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-7Walker.jpg manage 55 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:38 BobPries Ken Walker photo
Iris-milesii-8Walker.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-8Walker.jpg manage 61 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:39 BobPries Ken Walker photo
Iris-milesii-Lankow.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-Lankow.jpg manage 24 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:39 BobPries Carla Lankow photo
Iris-milesii-Lankow2.jpgjpg Iris-milesii-Lankow2.jpg manage 26 K 24 Sep 2013 - 12:40 BobPries Carla Lankow photo
Iris_milesii_KWW_1.JPGJPG Iris_milesii_KWW_1.JPG manage 64 K 13 Feb 2015 - 15:12 Main.KWalker Photo by Ken Walker
Irismilesii1Walker.jpgjpg Irismilesii1Walker.jpg manage 71 K 20 Jul 2016 - 11:34 BobPries Ken Walker photo at Kew
Irismilesii3Walker.jpgjpg Irismilesii3Walker.jpg manage 56 K 20 Jul 2016 - 11:35 BobPries Ken Walker photo at Kew
Milesii.JPGJPG Milesii.JPG manage 65 K 30 Jan 2011 - 13:44 IrisP  
Milesii1.JPGJPG Milesii1.JPG manage 73 K 30 Jan 2011 - 13:46 IrisP  
Milesii_plate_6886.jpgjpg Milesii_plate_6886.jpg manage 93 K 23 Sep 2013 - 18:45 BobPries Bot. Mag. table 6889
SIGNA_09CR040_milesii_light__dark_enlarged.jpgjpg SIGNA_09CR040_milesii_light__dark_enlarged.jpg manage 31 K 20 Jan 2012 - 15:00 UnknownUser Pries photo
SIGNA_09CR040_milesii_light__dark_mixed.jpgjpg SIGNA_09CR040_milesii_light__dark_mixed.jpg manage 122 K 20 Jan 2012 - 14:59 UnknownUser Pries photo
milesii01.jpgjpg milesii01.jpg manage 47 K 17 Jul 2015 - 03:25 UnknownUser Photo by Barry Blyth-Australia
milesii02.JPGJPG milesii02.JPG manage 807 K 13 Dec 2017 - 18:56 UnknownUser Photo by Cascadia Iris Gardens
milesii5.JPGJPG milesii5.JPG manage 43 K 03 Oct 2023 - 02:42 UnknownUser Photo by John Jearrard -Jearrad's Herbal-United Kingdom
Topic revision: r16 - 03 Oct 2023, TLaurin
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Iris Wiki? Send feedback