See Show Calender


■ (SPEC) Iris pallida Lam.

1789, Botanical author Lamarck


Iris pallida Lam. (Jean Baptiste Lamarck, 1789, S. E. Europe); Section Iris. TB; 12-72" (30-200 cm). Midseason bloom; Color Code-B1M; medium blue self. Distinguished from other bearded irises by the bracts protecting the flower buds being wholly dry, silvery or brown, and papery at time of flowering. The subspecies pallida has silvery bracts and the subspecies cengialtii, a dwarfer plant, has brown bracts. Standards and falls usually the same color, varying in shade from dark blue-purples to light lavender blues. This species included some forms of the first "pink" tall bearded iris. Beard white with yellow tipped to yellow, and sometimes orange into the throat.

See below:
20170519 121901Iris pallida Aurea Variegata (2)01.jpg20170519 121923 (2)Iris pallida Aurea Variegata.jpgdalmatica01.jpgDalmatica edited.jpgI PALLIDA EI.jpgIllyrica2 edited edited-2.jpgIllyricaSic1.jpgIpalladiaDalmatica01.jpgipallida01.jpgIpallidaDalmatica02.JPGipallidapinkform01.jpgiris pallida.JPGIris pallida 1sb .jpgIris pallida 2sb .jpgIrisPallida by JanLauritzen.jpgIrisPallida by JanLauritzen 2.jpgIrisPallida by JanLauritzen 3.jpgIRISPALLIDADALMATICA01.jpgirispallidavariegata01.jpgIrispallidavarigataAnitaMoran01.jpgpallida01.jpgpallida02.JPGpallida03.JPGpallida04.jpgpallida05.jpgpallida06.jpgpallida07.jpgPallida08.JPGpallida08.JPGpallida1.JPGpallida12.jpgpallida13.jpgpallida14.jpgpallida2.JPGpallida3.JPGpallida alba.jpgPallida in Kohler.jpgPallida redoute 366cropped.jpgPALLIDA VARIEGATA01.jpgpallidavariegata01.JPGpallidavariegata02.jpgPallidaVariegata02.jpgpallidavariegata03.JPGpallidawhite01.jpgpalllida09.jpg


Gerarde 1596;
Lamarck's, Encycl. 3: 294. 1789;
"Bearded Irises Tried at Wisley", Journal of The Royal Horticultural Society 138.; H.C., R.H.S. 1903; A 145.;
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, t. 645-692, vol. 18: t. 685 (1803) [S.T. Edwards] It had been always a matter of surprise to us that so apparently distinct: a species as the present, is well known to all former Botanists, and so long cultivated in all the gardens of Europe, would have escaped the notice of Linnaeus, while he distinguished as species his supposed sambucina squalens, to appearance scarcely worthy of being remarked as varieties; until upon critically reviewing the whole of his species, we found that the squalens had been mistaken by Jacquin for the sambucina, that other Botanists had confidentially followed him in the error, and that the present plant was the Linnean Sambucina; but as this name is now ls generally attached to Jacquin's plant by the excellent figure of Curtis and the authority of the Hortus Kewensis, we think it more advisable to let it remain; adopting Lamarck's for the present species, and expunging squalens, as being a mere variety of the now sambucina; although in truth the names of Linnaeus were still better adapted to the plants he had desttned them for. The synonym of Jacquin quoted by the authors of Hort. Kew. for their squalens should be restored to Iris variegata.Root horizontal, fleshy, very thick. Leaves broad, sword-shaped, covered with a whitish bloom, that gives them a remarkable pale or glaucous appearance. Stem about three feet high, twice the length of the leaves, with several short branches supported by bractes resembling the 1 — 2 flowered involucres, which are membranous, scariose, from a lightish brown inclining to white, not becoming sphacelate, but being so from their first appearance, equal to germen ; pedicles thick, trigonal, but little shorter than germen, which is trigonal-oblong, six-sulcate, equal to the obtusely trigonal tubes, which last are marked with fix flat furrows ; segments equal, ungues close, campanulately patent (not turbinate and remote as in Iris germanica and florentina); outer ones twice the length of the tube, broad, concave inwards, traversed by a fillet of white cilia with deep yellow tips; outer ones shorter and several times narrower, convolute ; outer laminae recurvedly deflected, twice longer than their ungues, round-obovate, entire, flat, pale blue, suffused with a purpllsh tint; veins deep blue, inner ones oblong-obovate, retuse, hence having something of an obcordate shape, sometimes with a small mucro in the sinus, erea, connivent and rather more blue; stigmas upright-patent, linear oblong, extending as far as the beard, whitish with a blue keel; sides but (lightly reflexed ; segments of the inner lip recurved-erect (not revolute), divaricate, laciniate-serrulate ; outer lip very blunt, entire. Flowers 8— 12, expanding in June, with an exceeding strong scent resembling that of Elder- Flowers.
See Redouté Les Liliacées. 7: tab. 366. 1812 picture.
Prince 1823;
The Gardeners' Chronicle 15 June 1878; at Park. 1878;
J.R.H.S. 15: 3. Oct. 1889;
The Gardeners' Chronicle September 1883;
Köhler, F.E., Medizinal Pflanzen, vol. 2: t. 922 (1890): picture
The Gardeners' Chronicle 14 July 1894;
Dykes, The Genus Iris 167. 1913,


Rootstock , a stout rhizome.
Leaves , 12-24 in. by 1½ in., of a very glaucous grey-green, ensiform.
Stem , 2-3 ft. high, bearing several short lateral branches, each set in a sheathing scarious bract, except in the case of the lowest. Here the bract-like leaf is green and sometimes 6 in. long (cf. Fig. 22).
Spathe valves , short, entirely scarious, even before the buds open, silvery-white, 2-3 flowered.
Pedicel , very short.
Ovary , short, with six grooves at equal intervals.
Tube , about ½ in., equal in length to the ovary.
Falls . Obovate, with a wedge-shaped haft, of a pale mauve purple colour, except on the haft, which bears veins of a deeper brown purple colour on a paler ground. The thick beard is in front white tipped with yellow and behind of a deeper orange colour.
Standards . Obovate with a short channelled haft, of a slightly paler shade of mauve purple than the falls ; the haft is slightly veined with brown purple.
Styles , broad, keeled, pale at the edges and more deeply coloured along the centre.
Crests , small, triangular.
Stigma , broad, entire.
Filaments , pale mauve, much longer than the anthers.
Anthers , small, cream.
Pollen , cream.
Capsule , oblong, trigonal; a form of I. pallida from Monte Brione near Riva' has a short, broad, six-ribbed capsule, but I believe that this plant is a hybrid of I. pallida and I. Cengialtii.
Seeds , dark red brown, compressed, angular, irregularly cubical.

Observations.If this Iris is really, as appears to be the case, a native of the valleys of southern Tirol, it is at least curious that there is no definite trace of it in botanical literature before 1789. It is possible that the Iris latifolia major I llyrica of the Hortus Eystettensis, Plant. Vern. Ordo vm, Fol. 1v, No. 3, and of C. Bauhin's Pinax, p. 31, which was described as being "coloris dilute coerulei pallescentis" and as having a somewhat stouter rhizome than I. florentina, may be identified as I. pallida and in that case it is difficult to see why Linnaeus omitted it from his list of Iris species.No one who had ever seen /. pallida develop its inflorescence could fail to separate it from I, germanica, for it is distinguished at once by its silvery-white scarious spathes, even when the plant is only in bud, by the very short tube, by the very glaucous leaves, which do not grow to any extent during the winter as do those of I. germanica, and by the broad spreading character of the falls of the flowers. The stem attains a height of about three feet and bears a more complicated inflorescence than that of I. germanica (cf. Fig. 22, p. 167, and Fig. 21, p. 163). It is not entirely erect, for the internodes tend to zigzag slightly. The bracts, which sheathe the bases of the lateral branches, are all as scarious as the spathes except that which clothes the lowest branch, which remains green.The finest form of I. pallida is that which is known in gardens as dalmatica', though its native locality has never apparently been exactly determined. The foliage of this is broader than that of the type, being often 2 in. wide or even wider, and very glaucous. The stem is rather shorter than that of the type but is thicker, and the flowers, which are supported on shorter lateral stems, are of a lilac shade of purple and have considerable substance. The tendency of the falls to spread rather than to droop is very marked, I. pallida is separated by another character from I. germanica, namely, by its compressed angular seeds, a feature which also distinguishes it from I. Cengialti; in the latter the seeds are globose or pyriform and of a greyish colour, instead of irregularly cubical and red brown.I, plicata, which is to all intents a pallida except in colour (cf. I. Swertii', which stands in the same relation to I, Cengialti), is probably either an approximately albino form or a hybrid of I. pallida in which some factor or combination of factors succeeds in suppressing the purple colour except for the veins on the edges of the standards and falls. Plants of this type, of which " Mme Chereau" is perhaps the best known example, are common in gardens and the amount and exact shade of the veining vary considerably.Another form of I. pallida has the foliage variegated with broad bands of yellow, a feature which to most observers will probably appear more striking than beautiful.Several forms of I. pallida have been described as growing wild in Sicily, but their behaviour in winter hardly suggests that they are natives of a country with so genial a winter climate that the undoubtedly native I. pseudopumila can grow rapidly with the advent of the autumn rains and retain its foliage throughout the winter. It is, of course, possible that the forms in question were originally introduced from Northern Italy and that they have become naturalised in Sicily in the course of ages, and moreover they appear for the most part to be of hybrid origin.
Berry 1938; Per. 1938;


Sweet Iris; Iris glauca Salisb.; Iris odoratissima Jacq.; Pale Turkey Iris; Iris pallida coerulea Pers.; pallidiflora.. (syn. Iris cengialtii = Iris pallida subsp. cengialtii, Iris illyrica = Iris pallida var. illyrica).

Chromosome counts

2n=24, D'Ovidio, 1986; 2n=24, Miti?, 1991; 2n=24, Colasante & Sauer, 1993.


Iris pallida Lam. subsp. pallida var. pallida has two color forms:
  • forma pallida and
  • forma plicata;
and there is a second two botanical varieties,
  • var. dalmatica
  • var. illyrica.
Iris pallida Lam. has a second subspecies, subsp. cengialti (Ambrosi) Foster. with two forms:
  • forma cengialti
  • forma sweertii
Iris pallida has the following cultivars: 'Albert Victor', 'Argentea', 'Australis', 'Bawani', 'Benoni', 'Bluet', 'Brionensis', 'Carboncini Blanc', 'Carboncini Bleu', 'Celeste', 'Celia', 'Cengialti', 'Cengialti Minor', 'Cengialti Nancy', 'Cengialti Purpurea', 'Cengialti Thalia', 'Como', 'Dalmatica', 'Delicatissima', 'Dora Campbell', 'E.A. Bowles', 'Eden Philpotts', 'Gleam', 'Gold Crest', 'Gwendolyn', 'Hanselmayer's Dwarf Blue', 'Hideyo', 'Illyrica', 'Illyrica Trieste', 'Isola', 'Kulan Tith', 'Kupari', 'Lady Charles Allom', 'Mandraliscae', 'Marjorie Tinley', 'Miranda', 'Mist', 'Mme Chéreau', 'Monte Baldo', 'Monte Brione', 'Moor', 'Mostar', 'Mrs. Hetty Matson', 'Munich Blue', 'Odoratissima', 'Palceng', 'Pallida Minor', 'Pallida Nana', 'Pallida Speciosa', 'Pallida Variegata', 'Penge', 'Perry's Favourite', 'Plicata', 'Plumeri', 'Princess Beatrice', 'Princess Beatrice no.1', 'Princess Beatrice no.2', 'Princess Royal', 'Rhaetica', 'Royal'? , 'Swerti', 'The Czar', 'Thora Perry', Tineae', 'Tintinhull', 'Triglavii', 'Vatican', 'Verona', 'Viola', 'Violetta', 'Zebra', 'Zephyr'.


Iris pallida crosses:
  • Iris pallida X Iris albertii: 'Charmian', 'Cymbeline', 'Octavia'
  • Iris pallida X Iris aphylla: 'Burnati'
  • Iris aphylla X Iris pallida: 'Loppio';
  • Iris reichenbachii X Iris pallida: 'Balceng', 'Balceng Harlequin', 'Balceng Vacinensis', 'Blue Beard', 'Curiosity', 'Harlequin', 'Miss H. M. White', 'Miss Owen'
  • Iris pallida X Iris variegata: 'Afterglow', 'Lord Lambourne', 'Palaurea'
  • Iris pallida and Iris variegata: 'Flavalba', 'Flavescens', 'Lurida', 'Munite', 'Redouteana', 'Rothschildii', 'Sambucina', 'Squalens'; For a discussion see Foster on variegata hybrids with pallida
  • Iris cypriana X Iris pallida: 'Ambrose Wiseman', 'Amy Brandon Thomas', 'Caterina', 'Lady Foster', 'Shelfod Chieftan'
  • Iris pallida X Iris kashmiriana: 'Dalkish'
  • Iris pallida X Iris mesopotamica: 'Carthusian'
  • Iris mesopotamica X Iris pallida: 'Andree', 'Autissier', 'Blanc', 'Bleute', 'Mlle. Jeanne Bel', 'Mlle. Schwartz', 'Peronne'
  • Iris pallida X Iris varbossiana: 'Daesitiatensis'
  • Iris pallida X intermediate bearded: 'Mrs. Tinley',
  • Iris pallida X tall bearded: 'Aline', 'Athene', 'Azyiade', 'Bluenose', 'Dalmarius', 'Delicatissima', 'Garnet Glow', 'Helen Rogers', 'Irish Eyes', 'Iris King', 'Mrs. Alan Gray', 'Nadji', 'Suffren'
  • Iris pallida X ?: 'Ammon', 'Amneris', 'Aurora', 'Barbara', 'Charles Darwin', 'King George', 'Lysander', 'Maria', 'Ringdove'
  • Sicula ? X Iris pallida: 'Helena'
  • tall bearded X Iris pallida: 'Argonaut', 'Benbow', 'Clematis', 'Drake', 'Grenville', 'Mystery To Me', 'Naronda', 'Rodney', 'Royal Fantasy', 'Tom Tit'
  • Iris pallida X Iris amasia: 'Edouard Michel', 'Juliet'
  • Iris pallida X Iris trojana: 'Regan', 'Rotorua'
  • Iris trojana X Iris pallida: 'Morwell'
  • Iris pallida X Iris timofejewii: 'Paltime', 'Timpala'
Crosses with Oncocyclus: (=Arilbreds) Crosses with Crested Iris: Crosses with Beardless Irises (probably in error):
  • Iris pallida X Iris verna: 'Pal-verna'?;
Crosses with Tb X Iris pallida:
  • 'Mirage', 'Paracina', 'Ramilahs', 'Saint Laurence', 'Stanwix', 'Zanardelle'
¼ Iris pallida crosses: 'Cactiforium']. 'Emily Pyke', 'Snow Fiddler'

For Further Reading see Library Search for Pallida

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-- Main.RPries - 2010-02-08
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
20170519_121901Iris_pallida_Aurea_Variegata_(2)01.jpgjpg 20170519_121901Iris_pallida_Aurea_Variegata_(2)01.jpg manage 839 K 23 May 2017 - 18:42 UnknownUser Photo by Holly Johnson-Taken at 05/19/17 at MN Landscape Arboretum
20170519_121923_(2)Iris_pallida_Aurea_Variegata.jpgjpg 20170519_121923_(2)Iris_pallida_Aurea_Variegata.jpg manage 531 K 21 May 2017 - 15:56 HollyJohnson2017-04-01 Iris pallida - 'Aurea Variegata' Dalmatian Iris - Photo by Holly Johnson taken on May 19, 2017 after rain during previous days at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Zone 4b
Dalmatica_edited.jpgjpg Dalmatica_edited.jpg manage 54 K 29 Apr 2010 - 21:09 UnknownUser Pries photo April 29 2010
IRISPALLIDADALMATICA01.jpgjpg IRISPALLIDADALMATICA01.jpg manage 39 K 15 Aug 2014 - 18:57 UnknownUser Photo by Augusto Bianco-biancoiride-Gabiano-Italy
I_PALLIDA_EI.jpgjpg I_PALLIDA_EI.jpg manage 95 K 08 Jul 2016 - 12:07 Main.ruiris from the book 'The Iris' (G. Rodionenko et al., 1981)
Illyrica2_edited_edited-2.jpgjpg Illyrica2_edited_edited-2.jpg manage 65 K 29 Apr 2010 - 21:15 UnknownUser Pries photo
IllyricaSic1.jpgjpg IllyricaSic1.jpg manage 50 K 29 Apr 2010 - 21:10 UnknownUser Pries photo April 29, 2010 Roxboro, NC
IpalladiaDalmatica01.jpgjpg IpalladiaDalmatica01.jpg manage 25 K 06 Oct 2014 - 02:23 UnknownUser Photo by Chapman Iris
IpallidaDalmatica02.JPGJPG IpallidaDalmatica02.JPG manage 54 K 25 Nov 2014 - 14:02 UnknownUser Photo by Bluebird Haven Iris Garden
IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen.jpgjpg IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen.jpg manage 72 K 01 Sep 2011 - 17:00 Main.janlauritzen Taken at Government House, Victoria, BC at AIS 2011 Convention
IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen_2.jpgjpg IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen_2.jpg manage 64 K 01 Sep 2011 - 17:01 Main.janlauritzen Taken at Government House, Victoria, BC at AIS 2011 Convention
IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen_3.jpgjpg IrisPallida_by_JanLauritzen_3.jpg manage 75 K 01 Sep 2011 - 17:01 Main.janlauritzen Taken at Government House, Victoria, BC at AIS 2011 Convention
Iris_pallida_1sb_.jpgjpg Iris_pallida_1sb_.jpg manage 43 K 04 Jul 2010 - 04:49 Main.rivdel Iris pallida Southern France. Photo Stephanie Boot
Iris_pallida_2sb_.jpgjpg Iris_pallida_2sb_.jpg manage 37 K 04 Jul 2010 - 04:54 Main.rivdel Iris pallida in Nursery Reggole Italy. Photo Stephanie Boot
IrispallidavarigataAnitaMoran01.jpgjpg IrispallidavarigataAnitaMoran01.jpg manage 43 K 11 Oct 2014 - 17:21 UnknownUser Photo by Anita Moran
PALLIDA_VARIEGATA01.jpgjpg PALLIDA_VARIEGATA01.jpg manage 251 K 07 Dec 2015 - 15:25 UnknownUser Photo by Schwertlilienoase Klaus Burkhardt-Germany
Pallida08.JPGJPG Pallida08.JPG manage 63 K 10 Aug 2015 - 19:31 UnknownUser Photo by Iris Paradise
PallidaVariegata02.jpgjpg PallidaVariegata02.jpg manage 65 K 04 Nov 2014 - 21:40 UnknownUser Photo by Ogden Station Daylilies
Pallida_in_Kohler.jpgjpg Pallida_in_Kohler.jpg manage 132 K 14 Jul 2016 - 16:20 BobPries Courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library
Pallida_redoute_366cropped.jpgjpg Pallida_redoute_366cropped.jpg manage 136 K 27 Sep 2013 - 17:05 BobPries Biodiversity heritage Library Redoute
dalmatica01.jpgjpg dalmatica01.jpg manage 47 K 21 Aug 2014 - 15:19 UnknownUser Photo by Iris City Gardens
ipallida01.jpgjpg ipallida01.jpg manage 22 K 12 Sep 2014 - 23:12 UnknownUser Photo by Seagate Irises-United Kingdom
ipallidapinkform01.jpgjpg ipallidapinkform01.jpg manage 24 K 11 Sep 2014 - 16:19 UnknownUser Photo by Seagate Irises-United Kingdom
iris pallida.JPGJPG iris pallida.JPG manage 260 K 22 Jan 2023 - 14:56 EliseAMANN  
irispallidavariegata01.jpgjpg irispallidavariegata01.jpg manage 105 K 17 Jun 2015 - 00:56 UnknownUser Photo by Alla Chernoguz-Ukraine
pallida01.jpgjpg pallida01.jpg manage 17 K 13 Aug 2014 - 02:01 UnknownUser Photo by Iris Gal Iris Garden
pallida02.JPGJPG pallida02.JPG manage 52 K 28 Nov 2014 - 20:24 UnknownUser Photo by Don McQueen,London, Ont. Canada Zone5.
pallida03.JPGJPG pallida03.JPG manage 68 K 28 Nov 2014 - 20:26 UnknownUser Photo by Don McQueen,London, Ont. Canada Zone5.
pallida04.jpgjpg pallida04.jpg manage 123 K 10 May 2015 - 13:01 UnknownUser Photo by Burgard Iris Farm
pallida05.jpgjpg pallida05.jpg manage 92 K 10 May 2015 - 13:03 UnknownUser Photo by Burgard Iris Farm
pallida06.jpgjpg pallida06.jpg manage 135 K 01 Jul 2015 - 01:18 UnknownUser Photo by Exline Iris Garden
pallida07.jpgjpg pallida07.jpg manage 138 K 01 Jul 2015 - 01:20 UnknownUser Photo by Exline Iris Garden
pallida08.JPGJPG pallida08.JPG manage 88 K 30 Sep 2015 - 01:49 UnknownUser Photo by Pat Canter
pallida1.JPGJPG pallida1.JPG manage 39 K 10 Feb 2012 - 17:41 Main.htb ©2006 Laurie Frazer
pallida12.jpgjpg pallida12.jpg manage 45 K 24 Jan 2014 - 14:45 UnknownUser Photo by Iris of Sissinghurst,UK
pallida13.jpgjpg pallida13.jpg manage 61 K 03 Mar 2014 - 21:23 UnknownUser Photo by Chad Harris of Mt. Pleasant Iris Farm
pallida14.jpgjpg pallida14.jpg manage 134 K 03 Mar 2014 - 21:25 UnknownUser Photo by Chad Harris of Mt. Pleasant Iris Farm
pallida2.JPGJPG pallida2.JPG manage 1 MB 04 Jul 2016 - 01:51 UnknownUser Photo by Don McQueen,London, Ont. Canada Zone5.
pallida3.JPGJPG pallida3.JPG manage 149 K 04 Aug 2018 - 02:46 UnknownUser Photo by Nancy McDonald-The Pickle Barrel Collection.
pallida_alba.jpgjpg pallida_alba.jpg manage 38 K 29 Sep 2010 - 18:16 UnknownUser May not be correct seeds
pallidavariegata01.JPGJPG pallidavariegata01.JPG manage 105 K 25 Oct 2014 - 12:34 UnknownUser Photo by Don McQueen,London, Ont. Canada Zone5.
pallidavariegata02.jpgjpg pallidavariegata02.jpg manage 124 K 22 Sep 2014 - 19:05 UnknownUser Photo by Schreiner's Iris Gardens
pallidavariegata03.JPGJPG pallidavariegata03.JPG manage 138 K 16 Nov 2015 - 21:24 UnknownUser Photo by Svetlana Yakovchuk-Ukraine
pallidawhite01.jpgjpg pallidawhite01.jpg manage 50 K 22 Dec 2014 - 22:05 UnknownUser Photo by Exline Iris Garden
palllida09.jpgjpg palllida09.jpg manage 90 K 29 Feb 2016 - 21:24 UnknownUser Photo by Kelways-United Kingdom
Topic revision: r92 - 11 May 2023, RobertRPries
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