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■ (SPEC) Iris reichenbachii Heuff.

1858, Botanical author Heuffel

Iris reichenbachii Heuff. (Johann Heuffel, 1858, Balkans). Section Iris, DB; Height 4-12" (10-30 cm), early bloom season. Color Code-Y4L. Light yellow self; balkana a purple flowered form; beard yellow or white tipped purple; taller than I. suaveolens with a stalk and one or two terminal flowers and sometimes a lateral branch. Bracts keeled.

See below:

balkanaPannoyoti Kelaidis photoHarold Mathes photoPhoto scanned from the Bee Warburton slide collectionPhoto scanned from the Bee Warburton slide collectionPhoto scanned from the Glenn Corlew slide collectionPhoto by BartonIris reichenbachii (photo by Karen Waters)Iris reichenbachii (photo by Karen Waters)Photo by Sandor Szasz-Iriszkert-HungaryPhoto by Kirsten by LonsdaleBiodiversity Heritage LibraryReichenbachii from Dykes Genus IrisPhoto by Jensen


Verh. Zool. Bot. Gesell. Vienna 8: 206, 1858, in Oest. Bot. Zeit. 8: 28. 1858;
Dykes, The Genus Iris tab. 34. 152. 1913. Description. Rootstock , a compact rhizome with crowded growths. Leaves , ensiform, glaucescent, 3-6 in. by ~ l in. at flowering time, increasing in size later, more or less falcate.</br. Stem , 6-10 in. long, 1-headed, and usually bearing one or two reduced leaves. Spathes , 1-2-flowered, valves green, or only very slightly scarious, navicular, acutely keeled. 1½-2 in. by 1/2-3/4 in. Pedicel , very short. Ovary , cylindrical with six grooves. Tube , 1-1½ in. long, funnel-shaped. Falls , obovate-cuneate, with thick beard of close set, short, silky hairs. (a) Colour a peculiar reddish brown purple, almost chocolate. In this the beard is composed of more or less bluish white hairs. (b) Colour yellow, sometimes with a tinge of green and with a few brown or purple veins at the base of the segments. Beard orange. Standards , oblong elliptical, narrowing sharply to a short canaliculate haft, emarginate, of the same colour as the falls. Styles , a long oval, keeled, either purplish or yellow. Crests , small, subquadrate, with serrate edge. Stigma , oblong, entire, prominent. Filaments , much longer than the anthers. Anthers , short. Pollen , cream. Capsule , a long ellipse with six shallow grooves. Seeds , pyriform, wrinkled, brown.Observations.This Iris has long been a source of confusion because it has not been recognised that just as we find many colour-forms of l. pumila and l. chamaeiris, so are there also colour-forms of this Balkan Iris. In the various herbarium collections I have seen authentic plants of Janka's l. balkana (purple), Beck's I. bosniaca (yellow) and Pancic's l. serbica (yellow), and moreover I have cultivated all three and raised seedlings of them and I have now not the slightest doubt that l. balkana is only the purple form of .l. Reichenbachii, of which the other two names are synonyms. It has been stated that l. serbica grows on limestone and .l. bosniaca on granite and this may be the case but that is no reason for giving them specific rank.As herbarium specimens, it is sometimes not easy to distinguish these Balkan plants from .l. chamaeiris, but the chief differences are to be looked for in the flattened, acutely keeled spathes ( those of l. chamaeiris are more tubular and only one valve is slightly, if at all, keeled) and in the thin transparent texture of the segments of the flowers (see Plate XXXIV). The yellow flowers are often slightly veined with purple and the purple forms are of that curious, almost chocolate shade, that occurs in another Balkan species, l. mellita. As in the case of I. chamaeiris, it is not unlikely that some colonies of plants are all of one colour while in others both the purple and the yellow forms occur together. At any rate both forms occur among specimens from Stanimaka.The cultivation of this species is somewhat easier than that of collected plants of I. chamaeiris. As might be expected, the foliage entirely disappears in winter and, as the flowers do not appear until May, they are less liable to suffer than those of the French plant. I have not noticed that they are fastidious as to soil, provided that adequate drainage is provided. The plants may be lifted and divided soon after the flowers fade and seedlings are easily raised. If planted out in early summer, the young plants should grow to flowering size by the following year, and I have even had one case of a plant of this age that produced no less than thirteen flowering stems.
"Bearded Irises Tried at Wisley", Journal of The Royal Horticultural Society 152.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine Table 8812. Iris Reichenbachii is a native of the Balkan countries from Bosnia, southern Hungary and Serbia, to eastern Rumelia and southern Macedonia. The species was originally described by Heuffel from specimens found in the Hungarian Banat, growing on rocks by the Danube, and from others gathered near Herkulesbad. It may be regarded as the Balkan representative of the more western species I. Chamaeiris, Bert., a native of Italy and southern France, from which I. Reichenbachii is easily distinguished in the living state by the very acutely keeled herbaceous spathes. While in reality an extremely natural species, I. Reichenbachii is at the same time characterised by extraordinary variability in size of plant and colour of flowers. Owing to this variability the plant has at times been misunderstood, hence the unusually long list of synonyms. How pardonable this misunderstanding is will be readily appreciated from an examination of our figure. I. Reichenbachii has been in cultivation in the Iris collection at Kew since 1904, when a supply of plants was acquired from Messrs. Haage and Schmidt, Erfurt. Additional plants were presented to Kew by the Hon. N. C. Rothschild in July, 1915; these had been collected on the mountains near Conrova, in Bulgaria. Yet other plants were presented to the national collection by Lady Muriel Herbert in May, 1919; these had come from Salonika. The plate now published has been based, however, on other material; the form with red-purple flowers was received from Miss D. Blanchard, who had flowered it in her garden at Parkstone, Dorset, in May, 1919— her plants having originally been received from Macedonia; the form with greenish-yellow flowers was sent by Lady Muriel Herbert in May, 1917— it was one of her plants from Salonika. At Kew, I. Reichenbachii is quite hardy, and has flowered in an open border. It prefers, however, a warm position against a wall. Seeds are only sparingly produced, but it is easily propagated by division of the root stock, as in most other species of the section to which it belongs.
1919; Berry 1938,


Balkan Iris; Iris athoa Fos.; I. balkana Janka; Bosniaca; Iris bosniaca Beck; Iris macedonica Nadji; Iris reichenbachiana Baker; Iris serbica Panc; Iris skorpili Velen.; Iris straussii Lynch.

Chromosome counts

2n = 24, Tarnavarschi & Lungeanu, 1970; 2n = 24, 48, Popova & Czechmedziev, 1975; 2n = 24, 48, Popova & Czechmedziev, 1976; In Iris reichenbachii var. intermedia Czechm. 2n = 48, Czechmedziev, 1983.


Iris reichenbachii has the following cultivars: 'Ambertellon', 'Athoa', 'Bosniaca', 'Bosniaca Major', 'Chalkadiki', 'Darby', 'Macropoda', 'Popovii', 'Serbian Major', 'Serbica', 'Straussii', 'Tenuifolia', 'Van Nes' 'Vardar Gorge'


Iris reichenbachii crosses:
  • Iris reichenbachii X Iris germanica: 'Bosniamac'
  • Iris reichenbachii X Iris pallida: 'Balceng'?, 'Balceng Harlequin'?, 'Balceng Vacinensis'?, 'Blue Beard'?, 'Curiosity'.
  • Iris reichenbachii X Iris iberica: 'Balk-Ib'
  • Iris reichenbachii X arilbred: 'Girl Watcher';
  • Iris reichenbachii and Iris variegata: 'Kobasensis', 'Look Twice', 'Miss H. M. White', 'Missouliensis', 'Miss Owen'?, 'Mitternacht', 'Navy Flirt', 'Perdita', 'Sherman'
  • Iris reichenbachii X TB: 'Progenitor'
¼ Iris reichenbachii crosses:
'Balançoire', 'Balkana Baby', 'Dream Maker', 'Fall In Line', 'Hills Of Lafayette', 'Jewel Of Omar', 'Le Sabre', 'Marooned', 'Omar's Sister', 'Omar's Torch', 'Omar The Tentmaker', 'Spot It', 'Tan-A-Maroon', 'Violet Lashes'

Distribution and Cultivation

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-- BobPries - 2010-02-09
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Iris-reichenbachiiMathes.jpgjpg Iris-reichenbachiiMathes.jpg manage 84 K 26 Jul 2016 - 17:34 BobPries Harold Mathes photo
Reichenbachii_Bot_Mag_8812.jpgjpg Reichenbachii_Bot_Mag_8812.jpg manage 82 K 08 Feb 2014 - 14:32 BobPries Biodiversity Heritage Library
Reichenbachii_from_Dykes.jpgjpg Reichenbachii_from_Dykes.jpg manage 54 K 20 Apr 2010 - 13:51 BobPries Reichenbachii from Dykes Genus Iris
balkana.jpgjpg balkana.jpg manage 31 K 26 Jul 2016 - 17:37 BobPries  
balkana_kelaidis.jpgjpg balkana_kelaidis.jpg manage 258 K 26 Jul 2016 - 17:36 BobPries Pannoyoti Kelaidis photo
reichen01.JPGJPG reichen01.JPG manage 79 K 06 Jul 2014 - 02:14 TerryLaurin Photo scanned from the Bee Warburton slide collection
reichen02.JPGJPG reichen02.JPG manage 91 K 06 Jul 2014 - 02:15 TerryLaurin Photo scanned from the Bee Warburton slide collection
reichen03.JPGJPG reichen03.JPG manage 528 K 05 Jun 2017 - 21:37 TerryLaurin Photo scanned from the Glenn Corlew slide collection
reichenbachii.jpgjpg reichenbachii.jpg manage 33 K 12 Feb 2010 - 16:37 BetsyHiggins Photo by Barton
reichenbachii1.jpgjpg reichenbachii1.jpg manage 55 K 08 May 2011 - 19:05 Main.tomlwaters Iris reichenbachii (photo by Karen Waters)
reichenbachii2.jpgjpg reichenbachii2.jpg manage 50 K 08 May 2011 - 19:06 Main.tomlwaters Iris reichenbachii (photo by Karen Waters)
reichenbachii52.jpgjpg reichenbachii52.jpg manage 66 K 09 Jul 2021 - 15:26 TerryLaurin Photo by Sandor Szasz-Iriszkert-Hungary
reichenbachii9.jpegjpeg reichenbachii9.jpeg manage 192 K 20 Apr 2022 - 01:30 TerryLaurin Photo by Kirsten
reichenbachiiVardaGorgeTET.jpgjpg reichenbachiiVardaGorgeTET.jpg manage 41 K 05 Jun 2010 - 20:14 BetsyHiggins Photo by Jensen
reichenbachii_2.jpgjpg reichenbachii_2.jpg manage 31 K 12 Feb 2010 - 16:40 BetsyHiggins Photo by Lonsdale
Topic revision: r27 - 20 Apr 2022, TerryLaurin
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