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■ (SPEC) Iris henryi Baker

1892, Botanical author Baker

Iris henryi Baker (Reginald Farrer, 1916, Kiaichow, Kansu); Section Limniris, Series Chinenses. D-Chin. 5-9" (12-18 cm); Flowers white or blue;

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Iris henryi Baker, Handb. Irid.: 6 (1892).
Dykes, The Genus Iris, 1913;
Rootstock , a slender wiry rhizome, with creeping stolons.
Leaves , linear, narrow, strongly veined with one central rib prominent on one side and two on the other, as in I. nepalensis, probably tinged with purple at the base, 10-18 in. by 1/6 -¼ in.
Stem , 1-headed, 2-8 in., clothed in reduced leaves.
Spathes , 2-flowered, 1-2 in. long, acuminate, narrow, apparently not scarious.
Pedicel , 1½-3 in. long.
Ovary , ¼-½ in. long.
Tube , very short, about ¼ in.
Falls . Imperfectly known, but probably closely resembling those of I. minuta, with an oblanceolate blade and a gradually narrowing haft. It is uncertain whether the colour is yellow or lilac.
Standards , shorter, with a rounded blade and canaliculate haft, as in I. minuta.
Styles ,
Crests , narrow, acuminate.
Stigma ,
Filaments ,
Anthers ,
Pollen ,
Capsule , short and broad.
Seeds ,

This small Iris, which has not yet been introduced into cultivation, appears to be very similar in habit and growth to I. minuta, from which, however, it is easily distinguished by its very short perianth tube and comparatively long pedicel.

Wilson's Western Hupeh specimens (no. 1841) are very small, but the old remains of leaves show traces of burning and, if the vegetation is often burnt, the plants would doubtless be weakened. They differ in no respect except in size from typical specimens.
Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. 42: 1, 78. Oct. 1916;
Farrer (1915) notes "Iris henryi is a charming little grassy frailty that runs about in the coarse, hot turf, midway on the blazing hills about Kiai Chow, and in April decks their gullies with a galaxy of milky-white (or sometimes palest blue) Moraea-flowers, giving the whole effect of Triteleias, but with a peacock-eye to the fall."
In the 2002 Iris Year Book page 99-100, Brian Mathew offered the following description "The overall impression is of a densely tufted evergreen plant with tough, narrow, bright green leaves strongly ribbed lengthwise and overtopping the flower stems. It does produce stolons but in a pot these are restricted so it is impossible to say whether it would creep farther afield and be less densely tufted. to date it has not been very free-flowering, and in spite of cross-pollination, I have not succeeded in getting it to set seed, so do not know what the capsules are like. When the flower stems first appear it looks as if it will be yellow-flowered as the buds are wholly yellow on the outside, however in the case of the plants I have here they open white with a smal yellow signal patch. The tiny white flowers (c. 3 cm across) are charming when viewed close up, but can hardly be described as showy. From herbarium specimens, and the notes attached to them, it seems that they may also be blue in the wild. In view of the fact that the details published in The Iris were fairly scant it seems useful to provide a full description of this particular individual.

Plant evergreen, densely tufted and producing slender stolons, the non-flowering plans with 3-4 leaves, the flowering stems with 1 long basal leaf and 1 very short leaf low down on the stem. Leaves flat, 20-25 cm long, c. 3 mm wide, strongly ribbed with 3 raised ribs, the apex acute, minutely serrate-scabrid at the margins. Flower stem from ground level to the base of the bracts (spathes) 8 cm, the stem slender but wirey, compressed laterally (i.e. 2-edged). Spathe valves 2, completely green 4-4.5 cm long (one slightly longer than the other), acuminate at the apex. Each set of spathes enclosing 2 flowers opening in succession, but the flowering time overlapping and the two flowers open together for about 4 days, the first flower lasting for c.10 days in good condition. Pedicel of first flower c.5 cm long, exserted from the bracts by c.1 cm, so the flowers carried one above the other. Flower 3 cm in diameter, predominantly cream-white with a small yellow patch in the centre of the falls, deepening to green on the haft outside of falls yellow, shading to green in the lower half (the haft). Perianth tube c. 4 mm long, narrowly funnel-shaped, green. Ovary c. 8 mm long. Falls obovate, the claw held at an angle ofc. 30degrees above the horizontal, the blade deflexed at c. 20 degrees below the horizontal. 1.4 cm long, 8 mm wide across the lamina, narrowing abrubtly to 4 mm across the claw; claw with 2 prominent wrinkled ridges on the edges and a less prominent low median ridge; apex of falls emarginate or obtuse. Style branches 1.2 cm long (of which 5 mm is the 2-lobed apex), 4 mm wide, more or less parallel-sided; the 2 lobes ('style crests') c. 2 mm wide at the base, narrowly triangular, apex acuminate and recurved at the very tips. Standards obovate with a narrow claw, 1.3 cm long, 6,5 mm wide across the blade(lamina), the claw c. 1 mm wide at the base, held at c. 30 degrees above the horizontal, the blade more or less horizontal, the apex truncate or emarginate. Capsules and seeds not seen."
Liu Yin, Chinese Magazine of Botany 3(2):591. 1936
as Iris gracilipes Pampan. in Nuov. Gion. Bot. Ital. 22:269. 1915.


Henry Iris Iris henryi| ----

Chromosome counts






Distribution & Cultivation

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Topic revision: r18 - 05 Feb 2021, Harloiris
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