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Pakistan | Family List | Pakistan V. 202 | Iridaceae

2. Iris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 38. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 24. 1954; Boiss., Fl. Or. 5: 117. 1882; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 271. 1892; R.R. Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. Pak. Kashm. 63. 1972; Wendelbo & B. Mathew in Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 112: 13. 1975; B. Mathew, Iris (rev. ed.):1-215. 1989; SGBIS* (eds.), Guide species Irises 11-370. 1997.

S. I. Ali & Brian Mathew

Iris hookeriana

Credit: J.S. Ingham

Herbaceous perennials. Roots fibrous, thin or fleshy. Rizome or bulb or stolon; aerial stem solitary or many, simple or branched. Leaves mostly basal, flat, equitant, canaliculate, 4-angled or terete. Bracts (spathes or spathe valves) 2 or more, subtending 1 or more flowers. Flowers solitary or in few flowered cymes; sessile or shortly pedicallate. Perianth segments 6, connate at base with the hypanthium, forming a short to well-developed tube, dimorphic, outer 3 are known as falls, usually differentiated into basal glabrous or bearded claw and a lamina which may have a beard or cockscome-like crest or unicellular papillae or only a smooth ridge. Inner 3 are known as standard. Colour variation is very pronounced; either the whole flower is of uniform colouring or bicoloured; then falls are normally darker. Stamens 3 attached to hypanthium, opposite the falls. Style branches 3, petaloid, each branch arched over a stamen and the claw of the fall, bilobed at the tip; stigma is represented as a flap on the outer side of each style. Capsule many seeded, seeds arillate or non-arillate.

A genus of c. 300 species, distributed in Europe, Asia, N. Africa and North America; represented in Pakistan by 16 species.

Key to the species of Iris

1 Plants with a bulb; leaves channelled, quadrangular or almost cylindrical.   (2)
+ Plants usually with a rhizome, leaves flat, sometimes very narrow.   (5)
2 (1) Bulb tunics fibrous and netted, leaves 4-sided in section (subgenus Hermodactyloides).   1 Iris reticulata
+ Bulb tunics papery to tough and leathery, leaves chanelled (Bulbs usually with thickened fleshy roots; standard much reduced in size); subgenus Scorpiris).   (3)
3 (2) Aerial stem much elongated already during flowering, with internodes clearly visible between narrow (3-8 mm broad) leaves.   2 Iris aitchisonii
+ Aerial stem either very short or if elongated then internodes ± concealed by comparatively broad leaves.   (4)
4 (3) Storage roots long, not markedly swollen. Leaves 6-16 mm broad, with a distinct 0.5-1.0 mm broad white horny margin. Seeds without aril.   3 Iris stocksii
+ Storage roots short, swollen. Leaves 1-3 cm broad during flowering. Seeds arillate.   4 Iris platyptera
5 (1) Plant with tiny rhizomes and markedly swollen tuber-like as well as fibrous roots (Subgenus Nepalensis). Standard narrowly lanceolate, bent outwards and downwards like fall.   5 Iris decora
+ Plant with well developed rhizomes, sometimes slender and stolon-like; roots not swollen and tuber-like (except in section Hexapogon, subgenus Iris). Standard erect.   (6)
6 (5) Falls with a distinct beard of fairly long hairs (Subgenus Iris).   (7)
+ Falls without an obvious beard but may have coxcomb-like crest, or rarely a fine pubescence of very short unicellular papillae on the haft (Subgenus Limniris).   (11)
7 (6) Rhizomes stout, peduncle (aerial stem) unbranched or branched. Falls bearded, hairs on falls multicellular. Seeds non-arillate.   (8)
+ Rhizomes compact, non-stoloniferous or very short and knobby, hairs on falls unicellular. Seeds arillate.   (9)
8 (7) Bracts green, only a narrow margin scarious, outer one 7-11 cm long. Flowers white or pale lilac-blue.   6 Iris kashmiriana
+ Bracts scarious at least in the upper half, outer one up to 5 cm long. Flowers usually violet, many colour forms present.   7 Iris germanica
9 (7) Rhizomes very short or knobbly with long straight fleshy roots. Beard present on falls till middle of blade and standards sparsely bearded near base.   8 Iris falcifolia
+ Rhizomes compact. Beard present only on falls.   (10)
10 (9) Flowers on short (5-12 cm) peduncle (aerial stem); hypanthial tube only 2-3 cm long. Flower colour variable but usually lilac, purple or bluish with darker mottling and albino.   9 Iris hookeriana
+ Flowers ± without peduncle (aerial stem) but are carried on long hypanthium tube c. 5.0-7.5 cm long. Flower colour lilac-purple mottled and blotched darker as if infected with virus.   10 Iris kemaonensis
11 (6) Crest on falls of flowers absent.   (12)
+ Prominent cockscomb-like crest present on the falls of flowers.   11 Iris milesii
12 (11) Capsule with 6 ribs running longitudinally, 2 ribs at each of the 3 corners (rather than equally spaced around the capsule. Seeds with a loose papery coat.   (13)
+ Capsule not as above.   (16)
13 (12) Flowers deep golden yellow; blade of fall longer than haft.   12 Iris crocea
+ Flowers not deep golden yellow, blade of fall equal to or shorter than haft.   (14)
14 (13) Flowers 4-6 cm in diameter, pale blue varying to greenish lilac; falls 3.5-4.0 cm long, haft narrow, twice as long as blade.   13b subsp. sogdiana
+ Flowers >= 6 cm in diameter; white, dingy white yellow or grey purple, sometimes golden yellow or bright deep blue or violet blue.   (15)
15 (14) Flowers up to 15 cm in diameter; bright deep blue or violet blue with median yellow stripe; haft equal to or longer than blade.   13c subsp. notha
+ Flowers (6)- 7-8 (-10) cm in diameter, white, dingy white-yellow or grey purple, sometimes golden yellow; haft longer than blade   13a subsp. halophila
16 (12) Hypanthial tube only 2-3 mm long, so that falls and standards appear almost free. Seeds shiny, smooth, not wrinkled (Series Ensatae).   14 Iris lactea
+ Hypanthial tube 4-15 cm long. Seeds wrinkled.   (17)
17 (16) Peduncle (flowering stem) well developed at flowering time. Hypanthial tube 4-6 (-12) cm long.   15 Iris songarica
+ Peduncle (flowering stem) obsolescent at flowering time. Hypanthial tube 10-15 cm long.   16 Iris loczyi

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


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