Iris curvifolia

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Iris curvifolia
Scientific classification
Iris curvifolia
Binomial name
Iris curvifolia

None known[1]

Iris curvifolia is a species in the genus Iris, it is also in the subgenus of Iris, and in the Psammiris section. It is a rhizomatous perennial, from China. It has sickle-shaped long leaves, short stem and yellow or bright yellow flowers. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions.


It is similar in form to Iris bloudowii, but smaller, although it has slightly inflated bracts.[2]

It has short, thick yellow-brown rhizomes, that are about 2 cm (1 in) in diameter.[3][4][5] Underneath, are thick fibrous secondary roots.[3][4][5] On top of the rhizome, are the bases of last seasons leaves.[2]

It has glaucous green leaves, that are falcate (or sickle-shaped) or bent slightly above middle of the leaf.[4][5][6] They can grow up to between 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 1–1.5 cm wide.[3][4][5] They have an acuminate (or pointed) end.[4][5]

It has leafless,[3][4][5] stems that can reach up to between 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long.[5][6][7]

The stem has 3, lanceolate, spathes or bracts (leaves of the flower bud), which are 5–6 cm (2–2 in) long and 13–1.8 cm (5–1 in) wide.[5][6] They have membranous edges and acuminate ends.[3][4][5]

The stems hold 2 terminal (top of stem) flowers,[5][6] between May and June.[3][4] They are held on very short pedicels.[4][5]

The flowers are 4.5–6 cm (2–2 in) in diameter,[2][3][4] come in yellow,[5][6][7] or bright yellow.[2][3][4]

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'.[8] The falls are obovate,[3][5] with brown veins, lines or stripes,[5][6][7] and a central yellow,[7] or pale yellow beard.[3][4] They are 4.5 cm (2 in) long and 1.5 cm wide.[3][4][5] The standards are oblanceolate and 4 cm (2 in) long and 1.3 cm wide.[3][4][5]

It has 2–3 cm (1–1 in) long and funnel shaped, perianth tube,[2][4][5] a cylindrical, 1.8–2.2 cm (1–1 in) long ovary.[3][4][5] It also has 2.2 cm long stamens, golden yellow or yellow anthers.[3][4][5] It has 3 cm long and 4 mm wide style branches, which has lobes that are obliquely lanceolate.[4][5]

After the iris has flowered, between July and September.[3][4] it produces a yellow green,[4][5] ellipsoid,[3] or obovate seed capsule,[4][5] which is 4 cm long and 2 cm wide,[3][4][5] with a short beak, and yellow green with 6 ribs.[4][5] Inside the capsules, are reddish brown, pyriform (pear-shaped) seeds,[3][4][5] which are about 7 mm long.[4]


It is written as 弯叶鸢尾 in Chinese script,[3] and known as wan ye yuan wei in Pidgin in China.[3][9]

It is commonly known as the 'curved leaf iris'.[4][10]

The Latin specific epithet curvifolia refers to having curved leaves.[2][11]

It was first published and described by Yu Tang Zhao in 'Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica' (Acta Phytotax. Sin.) Vol.20 Issue1 on page 99 in 1982.[9][10][12]

The type specimen (for the description) was collected from Bole, Xinjiang.[4]

It was verified by United States Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service on 4 April 2003, it was then updated on 29 September 2008.[9]

Distribution and habitat

It is native to temperate regions of Asia.[9]


It is found in China,[12] within the Chinese province, of Xinjiang.[6][7][9]

In 2011, a study was carried out on the vegetation of Karlik Mountain, within the Tian Shan Mountains. Iris curvifolia was 1 of the 14 endemic species of Xinjiang region.[13]


It grows in the meadows and grasslands on hillsides.[3][4][6]


It is rare and not in general cultivation in the UK.[5]


  1. ^ "Iris curvifolia Y.T.Zhao is an accepted name". (The Plant List). 23 March 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Franco, Alain (4 December 2013). "(SPEC) Iris curvifolia Zhao". (American Iris Society). Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "FOC Vol. 24 Page 310". (Flora of China). Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Curved leaf Iris". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z British Iris Society (1997) A Guide to Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation, p. 59, at Google Books
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Waters, Tom (29 January 2011). "Iris curvifolia". (Species Iris Group of North America). Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Iris summary" (PDF). 14 April 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  8. ^ Austin, Claire (2005). Irises; A Garden Encyclopedia. Timber Press. ISBN 0881927309.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Iris curvifolia". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Curved leaf Iris". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  11. ^ Smith, A.W.; Stearn, William T. (1972). A Gardener's Dictionary of Plant Names (Revised ed.). Cassell and Company (published 1963). p. 108. ISBN 0304937215.
  12. ^ a b "Iridaceae Iris curvifolia Y.T. Zhao". (International Plant Names Index). Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  13. ^ Qian, YiBing; Zhang, HaiYan; Wu, ZhaoNing; Wang, ZhongChen (2011). "Vegetation composition and distribution on the northern slope of Karlik Mountain to Naomaohu basin, East Tian shan Mountains" (PDF). Journal of Arid Land. 3 (1): 15–24. Retrieved 1 May 2015.


  • Mathew, B. 1981. The Iris. 194.
  • Waddick, J. W. & Zhao Yu-tang. 1992. Iris of China.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China

External links

  • Media related to Iris curvifolia at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Iris curvifolia at Wikispecies
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