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■ (SPEC) Iris pseudopumila Tineo

1827, botanical author Tineo

Iris pseudopumila Tineo. ( Vincenzo Tineo, 1827, Sicily and southern Italy); Section Iris . DB; 4-10" (15-25 cm). Early bloom. Color Code-Y4L; Flowers solitary, purple, violet, white or yellow, or bicolored. Similar to pumila but with stems at least 3 cm long.

See below:
Ken Walker photoPhoto by Marty Shafer/Jan Sacks-Joe Pye Weed


Tineo in Cat. Hort. Panorm. 283. 1827;
Dammann 1901;
One gleans the following information from Nigel Service's article in The 1994 Iris Year Book, p.94-96. "The type of Iris pseudopumila seems to have come from the area of San Martino di Scale, above and to the west of Palermo in Sicily at about 2,600 ft. (800 meters) altitude." He found the iris there on March 5th, 1988 and, at that height, the buds were not yet even detectable. Snow still lay not far above. Elsewhere though, on the island, He saw it in flower, growing on hillsides at around 750 ft. (230 m.) above sea level.

"In general, I. pseudopumila is characterized as having both a long perianth tube and a considerable stem, as being single flowered and as having evergreen foliage of a length that gives the impression that the flowers are borne among, rather than above, the leaves. The flowers in Sicily are of various colors and shades, yellow, variegata, purple and violet-purple, the latter often dark and with falls so infused with deep tones of bronzy-plum as to quite defeat the colour chart. In the variegata forms the falls seem always to have a narrow but well defined yellow margin. Beards can be yellow, white or blue."

"Of the plants" he "examined the falls measured 5.5 cm-6.8 cm x 2 cm-2.5 cm and the standards 5-7 cm x 2-3 cm, larger than those of the flowers on Malta, smaller though than those on Gozo. But the style arms tended to be longer than either with crests measuring 1.4 cm-1.6 cm long. Filaments and anthers were usually longer."

On Sicily the perianth tube "varied between 5.7 cm and 8.0 cm with an average of 6.6 cm while the ovaries were round-tubular and narrow, obscurely six-grooved, if very narrow then expanding abruptly at the apex into a collar and with an average length of 1.85 cm. The spathes were green, rather membranous at their apices and often somewhat purple marked, particularly on the inner valve, the outer being firmer, narrow, often keeled, with a length of around 6.0 cm-7.2 cm. Stem length here varies between 8 cm and 25 cm and the leaves mat occasionally exceed 30 cm."
"All this was of course the species as I found it at the southerly end of its range. I have not yet seen it on the Italian mainland and the form from Zadar in Croatia is reported to be, morphological at least very distinct."

"Iris pseudopumila has suffered in the past from a reputation of being over leafy and of having a poor flower shape with the falls much rolled inwards, and this view has been perpetuated by some recent authors. This is not entirely deserved, though on maturing the falls do without doubt present themselves badly judged by garden criteria, and the foliage is rather dense.

Also, in cultivation the species is not easy to maintain in good flowering condition, though the leafy plant persists seemingly without difficulty, except that it seems susceptible to northern frosts and wet combined.

It is not easy to find and indeed the true species is probably only periodically in commerce as, when offered, it is frequently not true to name or comes in one of its lessattractive manifestations. It is, though, a gem if found in a good form".
Dykes in The Genus Iris, 1913;
Rootstock , a compact rhizome with crowded growths, of a somewhat greenish brown colour.
Leaves , 4-6 to a tuft, 6-8 in. long, narrowing abruptly to an incurved tip, greyish green, glaucescent.
Stem , 4-7 in. long, raising the single flower just above the leaves ,and almost entirely, if not quite, concealed in reduced clasping leaves.
Spathes , 1-flowered, valves pale green, rounded, slightly inflated, 2-3 in. long, reaching to or above the top of the tube.
Pedicel , under ¼ in.
Ovary , rounded trigonal, slightly more than 1 in. long.
Tube , 2-3 in.
Falls , with an obovate blade and · wedgeshaped haft, slightly shorter than the standards. The colour may be either blue or red purple, yellow or white. The beard is usually of whitish hairs tipped with yellow.
Standards , rounded oblong with short canaliculate haft, rather paler in colour than the falls.
Styles , broad, keeled.
Crests , triangular, revolute.
Stigma , entire.
Filaments ,
Anthers ,
Pollen ,
Capsule ,


This Iris is unfortunately scarcely hardy in England and, although it has been introduced from Sicily on several occasions, it always seems to die out after a few seasons. This difficulty has made it impossible to decide whether there is any real difference between the larger specimens of I. chamaeiris from the Ligurian coast and examples of I. pseudopumila from Apulia and Sicily. In any case the difference is small and lies chiefly in the narrower spathes and in increased length of the tube and of the leaves, relatively to the length of the stem. Another feature that is nearly, if not always, constant, is that the spathes of I. chamaeiris, especially in Italy, bear usually two flowers, whereas I. pseudopumila rarely produces more than one flower. The fact, too, that no connecting links are apparently to be found between the neighbourhood of Pisa and Livorno (Leghorn) and Apulia in the south, points to the existence of two species.

I. pseudopumila differs on the other hand from I. pumila by the presence of a stem of greater length than the tube. In this connection mention must be made of two specimens from Le Murgie di Ruvo in Apulia among a collection lent to me by Professor Terracciano, in which the stems are reduced to a bare inch in length, so that the plants are practically indistinguishable from the true I. pumila. There is no means of knowing whether these specimens are abnormalities produced by some accident to the individual', but unless this is the case I. pumila and I. pseudopumila must be much more closely related than appears to be the case at first sight.

For the relation between this Iris and I. subbiflora see p. 141.
Little is known of this Iris in cultivation but it is probable that a well-drained limestone soil in a sunny, warm position or the pot cultivation recommended for I. subbiflora would suit it best.


Iris panormitana Tod.; Lutescens; Iris lutescens Gussone; Iris pumila Bivonia ----

Chromosome counts

n=8, Simonet, 1951; 2n=16, Randolph & Mitra, 1959



Iris pseudopumila Tineo.
subsp. pseudopumila
subsp. gozoensis Service Iris pseudopumila cultivars include; 'Gozonensis' 'Malta Form' 'Pseudopumila Randolph's I-43C' PSEUDOPUMILA ZADAR



Iris pseudopumila crosses; YELLOW HAMMER ----

Distributrion & Cultivation

Ken Walker photoPhoto by Marty Shafer/Jan Sacks-Joe Pye Weed

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-- BobPries - 2010-02-08
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Iris-pseudopumilaWalker.jpgjpg Iris-pseudopumilaWalker.jpg manage 52 K 22 Jul 2016 - 19:59 BobPries Ken Walker photo
pseudopumila1.jpgjpg pseudopumila1.jpg manage 185 K 14 Jun 2016 - 21:13 TerryLaurin Photo by Marty Shafer/Jan Sacks-Joe Pye Weed's Garden
Topic revision: r9 - 30 Nov 2016, BobPries
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