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■ (SPEC) Iris gracilipes Gray

1858, Gray

Iris gracilipes (Asa Gray, 1858, Japan) in Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ser. 2, 6(2): 412. 1858 [1857-58 publ. 1858] Section Lophiris, height 10-15 cm tall,

See below:

EW-I-GRACILIPES.jpgEW-I-GRACILIPEScrppd.jpgEX-I-GRACILIPES ALBA.jpggracilipes03.jpggracilipes04.jpggracilipes07.jpggracilipes1.jpgGracilipes2nd376.jpgGracilipes375.jpgGracilipes Bot Mag 7926.jpgI.gracilipes01.jpgI.gracilipes 2 Oct 10 005.jpgigracilipes01.JPGigracilipes02-seed pods.JPGigracilipes02.JPGigracilipesdouble01.JPGigracilipesdouble02.JPGIris gracilipes Buko Form KWW 1.JPGIris gracilipes KWW 1.jpgIrisgracilipes01.jpgIrisgracilipes02.jpgIrisgracilipes03.jpgIrisgracilipes04.jpgIrisgracilipes05.jpgIrisgracilipes06.jpg


Curtis's Botanical Magazine, table 7926, 1902 describes the following; "This elegant little Iris belongs to the small section or sub-genus Evansea, distinguished among the rhizomatous series by having a distinct crest on the lower part of the blade and claw of the outer segments of the perianth. Mr. Baker, in his u Handbook of the Irideae," enumerates eight species, all of which, except the North American I. lacustris, Nutt., are, or have been, in cultivation. They I. nepalensis, D. Don. (Sweet's British Flower Garden, series 2, t. 11); I. speculate ix, Hance (Bot. Mag. t. 6306) ; I. cristata, Ait. (Bot. Mag. t. 41.2) ; I. Milesii, Foster (Bot. Mag. t. 6889) ; I. tectorum, Maxim. (Bot. Mag. t. 6118), and I. japonica, Thunb., syn. I. chinensis, Curt. (Bot. Mag. t. 373). With the exception of I. cristata, a native of the Eastern States of North America, all the species named inhabit Asia, ranging from the North-west Himalaya to China and Japan.

I. gracilipes is in cultivation both at Kew and Cambridge. Kew procured it from Mr. Max Leichtlin in September, 1902, and it flowered in pots in a cold frame, and also in an open bed during last spring. Mr. R. I. Lynch sent flowering specimens from Cambridge in April, without any information of their origin. It is one of the most graceful species of the genus, and merits attention where the larger, more showy ones would be out of place. There are several Japanese, not specially localized specimens in the Kew Herbarium, including one of Gray's type ; but there is a note that the species grows in humid situations.

Descr. – A tufted, slender herb, six to twelve inches high, with a slender, branching rootstock. Stems of two kinds, flowerless and flowering ; the former very short, and bearing from three to five narrow, thin leaves, six to twelve inches long, very acute, six-nerved, with secondary, thinner nerves. Scapes or flowering stems about the same height, bearing two or three short leaves, and about the same number of flowers. Spathes one-flowered, on very slender peduncles. Flowers sessile, erect, purple or lilac, about two inches in diameter. Falls oblong, notched at the tip, recurved, white in the middle, striped with purple, and yellow-crested. Standards smaller, self-coloured. Style-crests of the same colour, irregularly fringe-toothed. –W. B. H.
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;


Rootstock , a slender, branching, comparatively wide-creeping rhizome.
Leaves , about a foot long eventually, ¼ in. broad, ensiform, slightly ribbed, green.
Stem , about 8-10 in., slender, branching about twice with a leafy bract at the bifurcations.
Spathes , with one valve only, lanceolate, membranous, scarious, reaching above the top of the tube.
Pedicel , none or very short.
Ovary , trigonal with thin walls.
Tube , about } in., funnel shaped.
Falls , obovate, cuneate, slightly more than an inch long by ½ in. broad, deeply and widely emarginate, and bearing a wavy linear crest, which is yellowish white along the haft, becoming orange at the tip on the blade. At the base of the haft the ground colour is creamy white marked with brownish veins which become lilac towards the edge ; the blade is of a pink lilac marked with deeper veins at the edge of a central patch of white veined with deep lilac.
Standards , oblanceolate, emarginate, with a short canaliculate haft, of a uniform pink lilac, under an inch long by ¼ in. wide, spreading at the same angle as the falls.
Styles , 1 in., of the same pink lilac colour.
Crests , long, nearly 1 in., much fimbriated.
Stigma , a triangular tongue.
Filaments , equal in length to the anthers.
Anthers , white.
Pollen, white.
Capsule , very short, under ½ in. long, with bulging sides, almost trefoil in section.
Seeds , small, dark reddish-brown, pyriform, with conspicuous cream-coloured rhaphe.

This is one of the most dainty of all Irises and does well in a cool, moist and yet not waterlogged soil It is not always easy to establish and should only be moved during the summer months while growth is still active. Division of the rhizomes is then possible. It may also be raised from seed, which sets fairly readily although in no great abundance, even if the flowers are carefully pollinated.

In structure, this Iris is peculiar in its single-valved spathes.
Van Tubergen 1916: 1938; Perry 1938' Starker 1938; Nesmith 1939; Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 39: 3, cxxxvi. April 1914;


Slender Iris, Somoku Zusetzu

Chromosome counts


Iris gracilipes


_Iris gracilipes_ crosses
  • 'Captain Collingwood (Cherry) Ingrams Delightful Hybrid'
  • 'Cherry'
  • 'Graclac'

Distribution and Cultivation

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Your Observations Are Valued. Please make note of bud count, branching, purple based foliage and bloom time, etc. Because these are affected by climate, note date, year and geographic location and write these and other comments in the comment box below.


-- Main.RPries - 2010-09-18
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
EW-I-GRACILIPES.jpgjpg EW-I-GRACILIPES.jpg manage 39 K 18 Sep 2010 - 12:00 UnknownUser Lorena Reid photo
EW-I-GRACILIPEScrppd.jpgjpg EW-I-GRACILIPEScrppd.jpg manage 30 K 18 Sep 2010 - 12:01 UnknownUser Lorena Reid photo
EX-I-GRACILIPES_ALBA.jpgjpg EX-I-GRACILIPES_ALBA.jpg manage 39 K 18 Sep 2010 - 12:01 UnknownUser Lorena Reid photo
Gracilipes2nd376.jpgjpg Gracilipes2nd376.jpg manage 20 K 20 Jan 2012 - 14:46 UnknownUser Pries photo
Gracilipes375.jpgjpg Gracilipes375.jpg manage 60 K 20 Jan 2012 - 14:46 UnknownUser Pries photo
Gracilipes_Bot_Mag_7926.jpgjpg Gracilipes_Bot_Mag_7926.jpg manage 282 K 12 Feb 2014 - 20:18 BobPries Biodiversity Heritage Library
I.gracilipes01.jpgjpg I.gracilipes01.jpg manage 70 K 22 Sep 2014 - 01:34 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the John Weiler slide collection
I.gracilipes_2_Oct_10_005.jpgjpg I.gracilipes_2_Oct_10_005.jpg manage 65 K 27 Oct 2010 - 07:43 Main.rivdel  
Iris_gracilipes_Buko_Form_KWW_1.JPGJPG Iris_gracilipes_Buko_Form_KWW_1.JPG manage 54 K 13 Feb 2015 - 14:53 Main.KWalker Photo by Ken Walker; Buko Form
Iris_gracilipes_KWW_1.jpgjpg Iris_gracilipes_KWW_1.jpg manage 65 K 13 Feb 2015 - 14:48 Main.KWalker Photo by Ken Walker
Irisgracilipes01.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes01.jpg manage 49 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:15 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
Irisgracilipes02.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes02.jpg manage 63 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:17 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
Irisgracilipes03.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes03.jpg manage 65 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:19 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
Irisgracilipes04.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes04.jpg manage 59 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:21 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
Irisgracilipes05.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes05.jpg manage 56 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:22 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
Irisgracilipes06.jpgjpg Irisgracilipes06.jpg manage 63 K 18 Sep 2014 - 20:24 Main.TLaurin Photo scanned from the Adele and Lewis Lawyer slide collection
gracilipes03.jpgjpg gracilipes03.jpg manage 44 K 17 Jul 2015 - 02:36 Main.TLaurin Photo by Barry Blyth-Australia
gracilipes04.jpgjpg gracilipes04.jpg manage 39 K 17 Jul 2015 - 02:38 Main.TLaurin Photo by Barry Blyth-Australia
gracilipes07.jpgjpg gracilipes07.jpg manage 76 K 28 Apr 2015 - 02:59 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
gracilipes1.jpgjpg gracilipes1.jpg manage 199 K 14 Jun 2016 - 23:33 Main.TLaurin Photo by Marty Shafer/Jan Sacks-Joe Pye Weed's Garden
igracilipes01.JPGJPG igracilipes01.JPG manage 106 K 21 Oct 2014 - 02:59 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
igracilipes02-seed_pods.JPGJPG igracilipes02-seed_pods.JPG manage 56 K 21 Oct 2014 - 03:03 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
igracilipes02.JPGJPG igracilipes02.JPG manage 77 K 20 Oct 2014 - 21:37 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
igracilipesdouble01.JPGJPG igracilipesdouble01.JPG manage 56 K 21 Oct 2014 - 12:28 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
igracilipesdouble02.JPGJPG igracilipesdouble02.JPG manage 54 K 21 Oct 2014 - 12:31 Main.TLaurin Photo by Joe Pye Weed's Garden
Topic revision: r25 - 27 Mar 2022, TLaurin
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