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■ (SPEC) Iris goniocarpa Baker

1876, Botanical author Baker

Iris goniocarpa Baker (John Gilbert Baker, 1876, Himalayas, West and Central China); Section Pseudoregelia ; Height 4-12" (10-30 cm); 1-Flower 5 cm or less in diameter; lilac or bluish purple, mottled or blotched darker or white, beard orange tipped.

See below:


Iris goniocarpa Baker, The Gardeners' Chronicle, n.s., 6: page 710; 2 December(1876).

Baker wrote "81. I. goniocirpa, Baker, n. sp.— Root fibres thick and cylindrical, the bases of the old leaves splitting up into short fibres. Leaves half a dozen or more to a tuft, narrow linear, grass-like in texture, overtopping the flowers, above a foot long, 1/4 to 1/3 inch broad. Stem 6— 8 inches long, with only a single 1— 2-flowered terminal spathe, and sheathed with two or three small linear leaves. Spathe-valves 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch long, lanceolate, acute, under 1/2 inch broad, green till after the flowering time. Pedicel varying from scarcely any to 1 inch long; ovary oblong, 1 inch long; tube as long as the ovary; limb 1 inch deep, with oblong unguiculate segments, the outer reflexing and densely bearded. Stigmas 1/2 inch long, exclusive of the entire lanceolate-deltoid crests. Capsule oblong, chartaceous, acutely angled, 1 — 1 1/4 inch long, with flat valves without any ribs.

A native of the temperate region (11,000—13 000 feet) in Sikkim, discovered by Dr. Hooker. I have seen only dried specimens, and do not know the colour of the flower. The general habit, the narrow grassy leaves overtopping the flowers, and the fleshy root fibres all recall I. nepalensis. Of the bearded species it is most like arenaria,
Dykes, The Genus Iris, 1913;

Rootstock , a slender compact rhizome, similar to that of the other members of the group.
Leaves , narrow, linear, springing from membranous sheaths, 6-10 in. by -l in.
Stem , 4-12 in., bearing a sheathing leaf attached near the base.
Spathes , 1-flowered, valves membranous.
Pedicel , very short.
Ovary , longer than the tube.
Tube , very short.
Falls , obovate cuneate, mottled with two shades of blue purple. The beard is of white hairs, tipped with yellow.
Standards , nearly as long as the falls, with oblong blades.
Crests , triangular, narrow.

This is the smallest member of the Pseudoregelia group, and has not yet apparently been introduced into cultivation. Baker's statement (Hdk. Irid. p. 24) that it has the habit of I. nepalensis is misleading, for the rootstocks of the two species are very unlike, I. goniocarpa has a short, and I. nepalensis a long, tube, the former linear leaves and the latter ensiform; in fact they only resemble one another in their slender appearance. I can find no character by which to separate Maximowicz's I. gracilis from I . goniocarpa. The former was described from Przewalski's specimens from Kansu (K), and Maximowicz admits that he had not seen any specimens of Baker's I. goniocarpa. He notes the resemblance of the descriptions of the two plants, but says that I. gracilis has not got leaves "half a dozen or more to a tuft," which was the expression used in Baker's original description. This, however, is misleading, for Baker's type in the Kew Herbarium has three fascicules, each of 2-3 leaves, coalescing to form one tuft. Maximowicz also lays stress on the fact that the leaves of I. goniocarpa were said by Baker to be longer than the stem and a foot or more in length. This is quite true, but it is equally true that one of Przewalski's specimens (K) exactly corresponds to this description, while in another the stem and leaves are both shorter.

I. gonzocarpa appears to be distinct from I. Hookeriana in its slender foliage and stem, and in the small 1-flowered spathe. It is possible, however, that experience of the behaviour of the plants in cultivation would show that the smaller plant must be regarded merely as a form of the larger.
2016 Images from The Flower Photo Site
Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 42: 1, 79. Oct.1916; Description of Reginald Farrer's collections


Iris gracilis Maxim., Bull. Acad. Imp. Sci. Saint-Pétersbourg, sér. 3, 26: 527 (1880), nom. illeg..
Iris felina Farrer, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 56: 318 (1914).
Iris pardalino Farrer, Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 56: 318 (1914).
Iris goniocarpa var. tenella Y.T.Zhao, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 18: 60 (1980). ----

Chromosome counts



Iris goniocarpa has the following varieties; 'Felina', 'Goniocarpa Alpina', 'Goniocarpa Pratensis', 'Grossa', 'Pardaline', 'Tenella'



No known crosses


Distribution and Cultivation

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-- BobPries - 2010-03-05
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
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Topic revision: r6 - 29 Jul 2016, BobPries
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