Iris cathayensis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Iris cathayensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Iris series Tenuifoliae
Species: I. cathayensis
Binomial name
Iris cathayensis

none known[1]

Iris cathayensis is a beardless iris in the genus Iris, in the subgenus Limniris and in the Tenuifoliae series of the species. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial, from China. It has grey-green leaves, short stems and violet flowers.


Iris cathayensis has a brown, tough, knobbly rhizome. Which has dark red leaf bases (from last seasons leaves).[2][3]

It has linear, greyish-green, 15–25 cm (6–10 in) long and 3 – 4 mm wide at blooming time. It later extends up to 45 cm (18 in) long and 6mm wide.[2][3] The tips of the leaves arch over.[3]

It has very short flowering stems, 15–25 cm (6–10 in) long.[4][5] Sometimes, the stems do not emerge from below ground.[2][3]

It has between 3–4 green, lanceolate, between 12–8 cm (5–3 in) long and 2–1.2 cm (1–0 in) wide, large spathes (leaves of the flower bud).[2][3] It has membranous margins, visible mid-vein and pointed end.[2][3]

The flowers are 6–7.5 cm (2–3 in) in diameter, and come in shades of violet,[2][4][5] in April.[2]

It has 2 pairs of petals, 3 large sepals (outer petals), known as the 'falls' and 3 inner, smaller petals (or tepals, known as the 'standards'.[6] The falls are narrowly oblanceolate, 4–5.5 cm (2–2 in) long and 5mm wide. The standards are also narrowly oblanceolate, 4–5 cm (2–2 in) long and 5mm wide.[2]

It has a 1.5–2 cm long, filiform (thread-like) pedicel, 7–9 cm long perianth tube, 2.8–3.5 cm long stamens, blue anthers and 1.3–1.5 long ovary. It also has 3.5–4 cm (1–2 in) long and 3mm wide, linear style branches, the same colour as the petals.[2]

After the iris has flowered, it produces a seed capsule (not described) between June and August.[2]


In 2000, a chemical analysis of 22 species of iris from China was carried out. According to the distribution pattern of isoflavones in the species, they can be separated into 2 groups. One group contains isoflavonoid aglycons and the other has glycosides and isoflavonoid aglycons. Iris cathayensis Migo and Iris mandshurica Pall. are considered intermediate groups between subgen. Limniris and Iris subg. Iris.[7]

In 2005, a study was carried out to find out the chemical composition of Iris cathayensis. Using chromatography and spectroscopic methods, as well as others.[8]


It is written as 华夏鸢尾 in Chinese script and known as hua xia yuan wei in China.[2][9]

It has the common name of 'China Iris',[10][11] or Cathay Iris.[9]

The Latin specific epithet cathayensis refers to Cathay, the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China.[12]

It was published and described by Hisao Migo, in the 'Journal of the Shanghai Science Institute' Sect.3 Vol.4 on page 140 in 1939.[13]

It was later published in 'Flora of Jiangsu', First Vol. 395, Fig. 712 in 1977.[4]

Distribution and habitat

Iris cathayensis is native to temperate areas of Asia.[9]


It is found in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei,[3][4][5] and Zhejiang.[2][9]


It is found growing on open hillsides and grasslands,[2] and low-altitude mountain meadow slopes.[11]


Iris cathayensis is not common in cultivation in the UK.[14]

It prefers to grow in sandy soils. It needs to be kept dry during winter, needing the protection of bulb frames, it only needs water during the growing season.[14]



  1. ^ "Iris cathayensis Migo is an accepted name". (The Plant List). 23 March 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "FOC Vol. 24 Page 306". (Flora of China). Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g British Iris Society (1997) A Guide to Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation, p. 197, at Google Books
  4. ^ a b c d Franco, Alain (4 December 2013). "(SPEC) Iris cathayensis Migo". (American Iris Society). Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Iris summary" (PDF). 14 April 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  6. ^ Austin, Claire. "Irises A Garden Encyclopedia" (pdf). pp. 274–275. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  7. ^ Qin, Min-Jian; Xu, Luo-Shan; Toshihiro, Tanaka; Wang, Qiang; Xu, Guo-Jun (2000). "A preliminary study on the distribution pattern of isoflavones in rhizomes of Iris from China and its systematic significance". Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica. TLC. 38 (4): 343–349. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  8. ^ Li, Lu; Qin, Min-Jian (26 May 2005). "Chemical Constituents of Iris cathayensis Migo". Journal of China Pharmaceutical University. China Pharmaceutical University. 36 (2). ISSN 1000-5048. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Iris cathayensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Sect. Limniris Tausch". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  11. ^ a b "China Iris". Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  12. ^ CTI Reviews Created Equal, A Social and Political History of the United States, Brief Edition, Combined volume (2014), p. 18, at Google Books
  13. ^ "Iridaceae Iris cathayensis Migo". (International Plant Names Index). Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  14. ^ a b Cassidy, George E.; Linnegar, Sidney (1987). Growing Irises (Revised ed.). Bromley: Christopher Helm. p. 139. ISBN 0-88192-089-4.

Other sources

  • Mathew, B. 1981. The Iris. 122.
  • Waddick, J. W. & Zhao Yu-tang. 1992. Iris of China.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).

External links

  • Many images of Chinese irises including Iris cathayensis
  • Image of Iris cathayensis
  • Media related to Iris cathayensis at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Iris cathayensis at Wikispecies
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Iris cathayensis"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA