Rhizome thick, plant 60-120 cm tall. Leaves 30-40 cm long, 2.0-4.5 cm broad, ensiform, glaucous. Peduncle (stem) up to 100 cm long, up to 3 branches with 4-5 flowers. Bract and bracteoles up to 5 cm long, scarious in upper half, often purplish. Perianth lavender, violet or bluish with brownish veins in lower parts; tube 2-2.5 cm; falls 7-9 ´ 4-5 cm, obovate-cuneate at base; beard white or pale blue; standard 7-9 ´ 4-5 cm, obovate or elliptic with a narrow claw at the base. Filament c. 1.8 cm long, pale-purple, anther white, subequal. pedicel short, ovary c. 1.6 cm long, style branches 4-4.5 ´ 1.5 cm, lobes obtuse 1-1.5 ´ 0.6-1 cm. Capsule 3-5 cm, ellipsoid, rare. Seeds pyriform, wrinkled, acute.
Fl. Per.: April-May. Vern.: Keore ka mul, Bikh-i-banafshah.
Type: Described from Germany, Herb. Clifford: 18, Iris 2 (BM) (B. Mathew in Jarvis et al. (eds.) Regnum Vegetabile 127: 57. 1993).
Distribution: Recorded from most parts of the world, though not known in the wild.
Widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. The fertility is reported to be low, hence its hybrid origin is suspected. It occurs on comparatively dry, rocky places, usually in or near cultivated areas or cemetries, 50-600 m (B. Mathew, l.c. 393. 1984).
Roots are reputed to have medicinal properties. Rhizomes yield an essential oil used in perfumery, cosmetics etc. Extracts of rhizomes are used in meat curing. Leaves are rich source of ascorbic acid and vitamin P (Ambasta, Ramachandaran, Kashyapa & Chan, Usef. Pl. Ind. 294. 1986).