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■ (SPEC) Iris potaninii Maxim.

1880, Botanical author Maximowicz

_Iris potaninii_ Maxim. (Karl Johann Maximowicz, 1880, Northwestern China and Tibet); Section Psammiris. height 2-4" (5-10 cm); Flowers yellow or lavender-purple, yellowish or whitish beard;

See below:
I. potaninii.jpgI. potaniniiJB17.JPGIris potaninii Baumfalk photo.pngIris-potaninii-2.jpgIris-potaniniiMathis3.jpgIris-potaniniiWaters4.jpgSeed of potaninnii2.jpgSeeds of potaninii3.jpg


More images in Wild at INaturalistUK
Bull. Acad. Peters. 26: 528., 537. 1880;
Although Mathew in the Iris, and The BIS Species Guide retain this within the Psammiris Section everyone expresses little conviction since it is a relatively unknown species. For this work we have chosen to follow Waddick & Xhao in The Iris of China and have placed it with the Pseudoregelias
Hook., Ic. Pl. 4th Ser. 24: pl. 2302. 1894-1895, illustrated;
Dykes, The Genus Iris 154. 1913,
Rootstock , even smaller than that of I. tigridia, but otherwise of similar growth.
Leaves , 1-3 in. by 1/8 in., ribbed, with a rounded blunt end, not pointed and tapering as in I. tigridia. The membranous sheaths at the base are present but almost concealed in a dense mass of curly fibres.
Stem, 1 in. long, 1 -flowered.
Spathes , membranous, 1½-2 in. long.
Tube , slender, becoming gradually wider in the upper part, 1½ in. long.
Flowers , small, bearded, either yellow or purple. [N.B. Maximowicz apparently knew only the yellow-flowered form but Przewalski, 1884 (K), has a purple-flowered example and so also has Potanin, 1886 (K) (B).]

Observations, see p. 154.

The plant is unknown in cultivation but remarkable as growing at a higher elevation (18,000 feet) than any other known Iris.
Hemsley, W. B., (1894), Journal of the Linnean Society 30. D 154. I. potaninii.
Dykes in The Gardeners' Chronicle October 1st , 1910, offers this note; "I. potanini is stemless, and the flowers are usually, if not always, yellow. I. potanini on the contrary is porbably entitled to the distinction of being the species that has reached the greatest elevation of the whole genus, for it grows on the tops of passes in Central Tibet at the height of 16,300-17,800 feet. The flowers of Thorold's specimens, gathered in 1891, were so imperfect that a new Iris thoroldii, of the apogon section was published by Baker in Hooker's Icones Plantarum, No. 2,302, but others gathered in 1892 by Rockhill show the beard quite clearly and appear identical with Potanin's specimens from Kansu and Przewaldski's from Northern Tibet. Among the latter there occurs the purple-flowered form which seems always to be found sooner or later among those species of irises in which yellow flowers predominate."


Potanin Iris; I. pontanini Hooker; Iris pumila Pall.; I. thoroldi Baker. ----

Chromosome counts

2n=22, Doronkin 1984. ----


Iris potaninii Maxim.
var. potaninii Zhao.
var. ionantha Zhao ----



Distribution & Cultivation

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-- Main.RPries - 2010-03-04
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
I. potaninii.jpgjpg I. potaninii.jpg manage 103 K 06 Apr 2019 - 22:22 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
I._potaniniiJB17.JPGJPG I._potaniniiJB17.JPG manage 52 K 09 Apr 2017 - 12:45 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
Iris potaninii Baumfalk photo.pngpng Iris potaninii Baumfalk photo.png manage 748 K 06 Apr 2019 - 13:44 BobPries  
Iris-potaninii-2.jpgjpg Iris-potaninii-2.jpg manage 73 K 29 Sep 2010 - 17:24 UnknownUser Seeds
Iris-potaniniiMathis3.jpgjpg Iris-potaniniiMathis3.jpg manage 82 K 28 Jul 2016 - 18:32 BobPries Harold Mathis photo
Iris-potaniniiWaters4.jpgjpg Iris-potaniniiWaters4.jpg manage 21 K 28 Jul 2016 - 18:33 BobPries Tom Waters photo
Seed_of_potaninnii2.jpgjpg Seed_of_potaninnii2.jpg manage 44 K 29 Dec 2010 - 20:10 UnknownUser Seeds pries photo
Seeds_of_potaninii3.jpgjpg Seeds_of_potaninii3.jpg manage 42 K 29 Dec 2010 - 20:11 UnknownUser Seeds Pries photo
Topic revision: r11 - 04 Jun 2024, BobPries
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