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■ SPEC) Iris atrofusca Baker

1893, Botanical Author Baker

Iris atrofusca Baker (John Gilbert Baker, 1893, Palestine); Section Oncocyclus; Flowers shiny, standards and falls alike: dark purple-brown. Beard short dense yellow, blackish signal patch. Floral height 8-10 cm; Floral diameter 7-9 cm. Diameter:Height ratio 0.9-1.0 (defined from Iris haynei with ratio around 0.8). Leaf width 0.8-1.6 cm and length 15-35 cm. Peduncle 20-35 cm long. In general, flower and plant trait values become smaller from the North (Semi-Arid) to the South (arid) parts of the distribution (See Sapir et al., 2002).

See below:
atrofusca.jpgatrofusca  - Fietz.jpggardenillustratedAtrofusca.jpgIMG-20190322-WA0043.jpgIMG-20190322-WA0047.jpgIris atrofusca - bright background resize.jpgP10320-1200022.jpgP10320-1206533.jpgP10320-1217403.jpgP10320-125159.jpgP10320-1254552.jpgP10320-1255512.jpg


Baker in The Gardeners' Chronicle 1: 384, 1893, gives the following *description:*

"This very distinct new species of the Oncocyclus section of Iris has been imported in a living state from the little-known region on the east side of the River Jordan in Palestine, By Messrs. Herb & Wulle of Naples, who have sent me a couple of specimens which they have flowered in the middle of March. It is as tall as Iris susiana, but the outer segments of the perianth are much shorter, and a concolorous brown-black. The inner segments are 1 inch longer than the outer ones, and twice as broad, and a mottled dark claret brown with black veins...

"Leaves weak, ensiform, a foot long at the flowering time, and nearly an inch broad, pale green, slightly glaucescent. Peduncle stout, one-headed, nearly 1 foot long, hidden by two large sheathing leaves. Spathe-valves pale green, ventricose, much imbricated, 3 ½ to 4 inches long. Pedicel short, stout. Ovary oblong. Perianth-tube cylindrical, green, 2 inches long. Outer segments of the perianth obovate-cuneate, 3 inches long, 1 ½ inch broad, nearly black, and quite concolorous on the recurved face, with a broad cushion of concolorous velvety hairs at the base of the recurved portion, which extends all down the claw, where the brown-black hairs are mixed with yellow ones. Standards orbicular, unguiculate, nearly 4 inches long by 3 inches broad, dark claret-brown with radiating black veins. Style-branches 2 inches long, ½ inch broad, very convex on back and acutely-keeled, with two large quadrate recurved crests. Anther white, ¾ inch long; filament short."
Gartenflora 42: 342, 1893, illustrated in color;
Arafeh, Sapir, Shmida, Iraki, Fragman and Comes. (2002) Patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation in Iris haynei and I. atrofusca ( Iris sect. Oncocyclus = the Royal Irises) along an environmental gradient in Israel and the West Bank. Molecular Ecology. 11: 39-53.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine, vol. 120 (ser. 3, vol. 50): t. 7379 (1894) [M. Smith]
The garden. An illustrated weekly journal of horticulture in all its branches [ed. William Robinson], vol. 50: (1896)
Krel. 1895; 1913;
Van T. 1900;
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913 notes;

I. atrofusca does not differ from I. Bismarckiana (see Description, p. 119) except in the colour of the following parts.
Spathes , yellowish green, not flushed with purple.
Falls . Very closely veined and dotted with red black so that the yellowish groundwork is nearly entirely obscured. The circular signal patch is velvety black and the diffuse beard consists of dingy yellow hairs tipped with dark brown on a greenish yellow ground.
Standards . Less thickly veined and dotted than the falls with the same red black colour on a grey ground. The haft bears a few scattered hairs.
Styles , closely and finely dotted with red purple on a yellowish ground.

Observations. See those on I. atropurpurea.
Introduced by American Colonies Store 1933;
1939; Naomi Feinbrun in Flora Palaestina 4: 1986.
More references: Volis, S., M. Blecher, and Y. Sapir. (2010) Application of complex conservation strategy to Iris atrofusca of the Northern Negev, Israel. Biodiversity and Conservation. 19:3157-3169.
Dorman, Melnik, Sapir, and Volis. (2009) Factors affecting dormancy of Oncocyclus iris seeds. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 57(4):329-333.
Sapir, Shmida, Fragman and Comes. (2002) Morphological variation of the Oncocyclus Irises in the southern Levant. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 139: 369-382.


Black Iris, Dark-Brown Iris.

Chromosome counts; 2n=20-Simonet, 2n=20 Kushnir 1947, 2n=20-Randolph & Mitra 1958, 2n=20-Avishai & Zohary 1980.

Endangered Species: Iris atrofusca is endangered species according the Israel Red Data Book (Shmida and Polak, 2008). Iris atrofusca var. loessicola is highly endangered throughout its distribution due to habitat loss by roads, settlements and agriculture. In that area there is only one national park containing a natural population (see Volis, Blecher and Sapir, 2010, Biodiverisity and Conservation).

For cultivation of Oncocyclus ---


Iris atrofusca Baker botanical varieties include: var. atrofusca, var. gileadensis Dinsmore, var. hauronensis Dinsm. Feinbrun, var. jordana Wallace Feinbrun, var. loessicola Kushnir

Iris atrofusca cultivars: 'Atropurpurea Gileadensis', 'Hauranensis', 'Jordana', 'Loessicola'. ---


Iris atrofusca crosses:

Onco Hybrid X Iris atrofusca: 'Sinaya', 'Vulcan's Forge'

SDB X Iris atrofusca: 'My Funny Valentine'

¼ Iris atrofusca crosses: 'Bronze Falcon', 'Hoopla', 'Iberian Queen', 'Lavender Lemon', 'Nigerian Night', 'Ord Mountain', 'Pride Of Haifa'



Distribution: Israel and Jordan - Northern Negev, Eastern slopes of Judea and Samaria mountains and Western slopes of the Gilead mountains, towards the Jordan Valley. Iris atrofusca var. loessicola Kushnir is endemic to the loess (airborne desert soil) in the Northern Negev, around Beer-Sheva and Arad.
atrofusca.jpgatrofusca  - Fietz.jpggardenillustratedAtrofusca.jpgIMG-20190322-WA0043.jpgIMG-20190322-WA0047.jpgIris atrofusca - bright background resize.jpgP10320-1200022.jpgP10320-1206533.jpgP10320-1217403.jpgP10320-125159.jpgP10320-1254552.jpgP10320-1255512.jpg
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-- Main.RPries - 2010-02-01
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Iris_atrofusca_-_bright_background_resize.jpgjpg Iris_atrofusca_-_bright_background_resize.jpg manage 67 K 20 Jul 2010 - 08:46 Main.sapiry  
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P10320-125159.jpgjpg P10320-125159.jpg manage 2 MB 28 Jan 2022 - 22:01 YoungBotanist A unique form of Iris atrofusca.
P10320-1254552.jpgjpg P10320-1254552.jpg manage 1 MB 28 Jan 2022 - 22:01 YoungBotanist  
P10320-1255512.jpgjpg P10320-1255512.jpg manage 1 MB 28 Jan 2022 - 22:02 YoungBotanist  
atrofusca.jpgjpg atrofusca.jpg manage 88 K 15 Jul 2016 - 16:48 BobPries FromThe Garden
atrofusca__-_Fietz.jpgjpg atrofusca__-_Fietz.jpg manage 19 K 06 Feb 2010 - 00:57 Main.Betsy881 Photo by Fietz
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Topic revision: r19 - 28 Jan 2022, YoungBotanist
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