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■ (SPEC) Iris scariosa Willd.

1820, Botanical author Willdenow

Iris scariosa Willdenow (Karl Ludwig Willdenow, 1820, Caspian); Section Iris . Dwarf Bearded; 4-8" (10-20 cm); Flowers reddish violet, light to dark violet, blue to nearly white or yellow;

See below:
I  scariosajb18.jpgI.scariosajJB.jpgIris scariosa21.jpgIris scariosa3.jpgscariosa1.jpgScariosa3.jpgscariosa5JB.jpgscariosa - Banketov.jpgscariosa 2 - Banketov.jpgscariosa 3 - Banketov.jpgscariosa 4 - Banketov.jpgscariosaJB19.jpgScariosaSeedlingJB.jpg


Willd. ex Link, Jahrb 1: iii, 71. 1820;
Gartenflora 27: 325. 1878, illustrated in color (Eulefeldi)
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913; Description taken from Foster's notes of specimens received in 1887, and collected by Bateson near Lake Balkhash.
Rootstock , a compact, short creeping, somewhat slender rhizome.
Leaves , 6-12 in. long at flowering time, about ½-! in. broad, erect or but slightly falcate, pale green, very glaucous, 5-6 to a tuft.
Stem , about 2-6 in. long or slightly more, with two small clasping leaves at the base, above which it is bare, producing two flowers (but sometimes only one).
Spathe valves , 2-2½ in. narrow, pointed, clasping the tube, pale green, but transparent and membranous below, becoming scarious above, sharply keeled.
Pedicel , none, or very short.
Ovary , 1 in. long, sharply trigonal, green.
Tube , 1-1½ in. long, purplish-brown.
Falls , obovate cuneate, the haft being marked with thick purple veins on a white ground with some colour diffused from the veins. The blade is of a uniform and peculiar red-purple colour with a few darker veins, becoming more prominent near the end of the beard, which is yellow on the haft and then white tipped with purple on the much reflexed blade. 1¾ x 1 in.
Standards , obovate unguiculate, of a uniform red-purple, rather darker on the haft, 1½ x ½ in.
Styles , a lighter tint of the same colour.
Crests , small, lanceolate deltoid.
Stigma , entire, semicircular in outline.
Filaments , about equal in length to the anthers.
Anthers ,
Pollen , white.
Capsule , trigonal, pointed.
Seeds , pear-shaped, brown, wrinkled, without any conspicuous aril.


Willdenow's description 1 certainly does not agree with the plant that Pallas identified as I. biflora in the British Museum. This is evidently an example of I. aphylla, of which Pallas said (Iter. 1. p. 171) that he had never found specimens to the east of the Volga.

Willdenow's description does, however, describe the plant that is found beyond the Volga and which is distinguished by its long scarious spathes and extremely glaucous leaves. This last character was noticed by Bunge when he gave the plant the name of I. glaucescens and it is also characteristic of the more robust variety named by Regel I. Eulefeldii.

After a careful comparison of Foster's notes on specimens of I. scariosa, which came to him from the hills to the north of Lake Balkhash and on others of I. Eulefeldii, which he obtained from Regel, I have been unable to find any real point of difference between them except size. Moreover the points of resemblance are so many and so striking that it seems best to follow Maximowicz's arrangement of I. Eulefeldii as a robust variety of I. scariosa. The features in which they agree, besides the long, transparent and scarious spathes and the extremely glaucous leaves, are the brown-purple colour of the tube contrasting with the green ovary, the peculiar brown-veined purple flowers and the beard of long white hairs becoming on the blade purple at the upper end and on the haft bright yellow. There is no record of the requirements of the plant in cultivation but the fact that, although Foster at one time cultivated both the type and the variety, neither seems to have remained long in our gardens, points perhaps to some difficulty in satisfying their needs. The plants that I have in cultivation grow slowly and are noticeable for their very glaucous leaves.
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, t. 6853-6912, vol. 112 [ser. 3, vol. 42]: t. 6902 (1886) as I. Eulefeldi drawn by [M. Smith]


Possibly Iris astrachanica Rodionenko, Iris elongata Fischer, Iris longiflora Herbert ex Baker. Shevchenko (1979) divided this species into two reinstating Bunge's Iris glaucescens , leaving Iris scariosa occupying only a limited area on both sides of the river Volga to the west of the Caspian Sea. If someone could translate Shevchenko's paper we could learn the morphological and ecological distinctions he made between these two species.


'Fei Shuang', 'Bing Mei Ren’, ‘Xi Yu Zi’


None recorded

Distribution and Cultivation

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-- Main.RPries - 2010-02-08
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
I  scariosajb18.jpgjpg I scariosajb18.jpg manage 107 K 26 Apr 2018 - 21:38 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
I.scariosajJB.jpgjpg I.scariosajJB.jpg manage 54 K 27 Apr 2018 - 07:28 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
Iris_scariosa21.jpgjpg Iris_scariosa21.jpg manage 31 K 20 Sep 2010 - 16:45 UnknownUser  
Iris_scariosa3.jpgjpg Iris_scariosa3.jpg manage 43 K 20 Sep 2010 - 16:46 UnknownUser  
Scariosa3.jpgjpg Scariosa3.jpg manage 42 K 20 Sep 2010 - 16:48 UnknownUser  
ScariosaSeedlingJB.jpgjpg ScariosaSeedlingJB.jpg manage 67 K 22 Apr 2013 - 14:05 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
scariosa1.jpgjpg scariosa1.jpg manage 292 K 19 Aug 2016 - 22:51 UnknownUser Photo scanned from the Bee Warburton slide collection
scariosa5JB.jpgjpg scariosa5JB.jpg manage 46 K 09 Apr 2011 - 18:28 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk 2011
scariosaJB19.jpgjpg scariosaJB19.jpg manage 77 K 18 Apr 2019 - 20:47 Main.Betsy881 Photo by John Baumfalk
scariosa_-_Banketov.jpgjpg scariosa_-_Banketov.jpg manage 28 K 08 Feb 2010 - 15:57 Main.Betsy881 Photo by Banketov
scariosa_2_-_Banketov.jpgjpg scariosa_2_-_Banketov.jpg manage 19 K 08 Feb 2010 - 15:51 Main.Betsy881 Photo by Banketov
scariosa_3_-_Banketov.jpgjpg scariosa_3_-_Banketov.jpg manage 19 K 08 Feb 2010 - 15:52 Main.Betsy881 Photo by Banketov
scariosa_4_-_Banketov.jpgjpg scariosa_4_-_Banketov.jpg manage 20 K 08 Feb 2010 - 15:52 Main.Betsy881 Photo by Banketov
Topic revision: r23 - 22 Oct 2023, Harloiris
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