Iris proantha

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Iris proantha
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Iris series Chinenses
Species: I. proantha
Binomial name
Iris proantha
  • Iris proantha var. proantha (none known)
  • Iris pseudorossii S.S.Chien [1]

Iris proantha is a beardless iris in the genus Iris, in the subgenus Limniris and in the Chinenses series of the species. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial.

It is written as 小鸢尾 in Chinese script and known as xiao yuan wei in China.[2][3][4]

It has the common name in (China) of 'small iris'.[3][4]

It was first published and described by Freidrich Diels in the 'Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift Utgifven af Svenska Botaniska Foreningen' (of Stockholm) Issue xviii, p427 in 1924.[5] It was found in Kiangsu (now known as Jiangsu) and Ankwei (now known as Anhui) of China.[6] In his original description, Diels noted that it had no appendages on the outer perianth lobes, this meant the iris is part of the Apogon Section of the Limniris subgenus. But he was mistaken and the plant does have an appendage. It was found that Diels had made his description due to a pressed specimen.[4]

In 1989, Iris pseudorossii (before it was found to be a synonym of Iris proantha), was found in Baishui, past Nga-ba village.[7]

It is mentioned in the RHS journal, 'New Plantsman' (in 2000).[8]

It was later verified by United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service on 4 April 2003.[3]

In 2007, it was found in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh by Bhaumik and Pathak.[9]

As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes. This can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.[10] It has a chromosome count: 2n=50,[11] and 2n=44, Mao & Xue, 1986.[6]

Iris proantha is not cultivated in Europe.[12]

Iris proantha and Iris speculatrix can be found in Hangzhou Botanical Garden and in Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve, close to Hangzhou.[13]

In 2012, the plants of the Hangzhou West Lake Area from Zhejiang Province lists Iris proantha.[14]


Iris proantha has long, brown, slender rhizome that has many branches or stolons, that help it spread into large clumps.[2][4][15] The rhizomes are surrounded by several rigid fibres which are the remnants from previous seasons flowers.[4][15] Under the rhizome, are secondary roots growing into the soil, looking for nutrients. These roots have small nodules on them.[15] These are used to fix nitrogen, from the soil.[12]

It has yellow-green, linear (grass-like), which measure between 5–27 cm (2–11 in) long and 0.1–0.7 cm (0–0 in) wide.[2][4][11][12][15] They then elongate after flowering, growing up to 40–55 cm (16–22 in) long.[2][4][12] They have 1 – 2 veins.[2][4][12]

It has a short flowering stem of between 5–28 cm (2–11 in) tall.[2][4][12][16]

It has one terminal (at the top of the stem) flower, between March and April.[2][4][12] It has 2 green, lanceolate (lance-like), 3.5–5.5 cm (1–2 in) long and 0.6 cm (0 in) wide, spathes (leaves of the flower bud).[2][4][11][12]

The flowers come in a range of blue shades, from purple, to pale violet, to blue, to white and pale pink.[2][4][6][11][12][16] They are between 3.5–5 cm (1–2 in) in diameter.[2][4][11][12]

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'.[10] The falls are obovate (egg-shaped), 1–1.2 cm (0–0 in) long and 2.5 cm (1 in) wide, with a horseshoe shaped mark (in a darker colour) surrounding a paler signal area and a yellow crest.[2][4][6][12][16] The standards are the same colour as the falls, erect, oblanceolate, 2.2–2.5 cm (1–1 in) long and 0.7 cm (0 in) wide.[2][4][12]

It has a 6–10 mm long pedicel, 2.5–3.5 cm long perianth tube, white, 1 cm long stamens and green, cylindrical, 4–5 mm long ovary.[2][4][12] It has 1.8 cm long and 4 mm wide style branch, which are the same colour as the petals.[2][4]

After the iris has flowered, between May and July, it produces a globose (spherical), seed capsule, about 1.2–1.5 cm in diameter. The top of the capsule has a short beak.[2][4]


Iris proantha is native to temperate areas of Asia.[3]


It is found on the east coast areas of China and near Shanghai.[12][16] Within the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang[2][3][4][11][14]

It has also been recorded as being found in India.[9]


It grows beside forest edges, (within) forests, meadows (and grasslands),[11] beside roadsides and on hillsides.[2][4]

Hybrids and cultivars

A known named variant is Iris proantha var. valida.[17]

It was published and described by Y.T. Zhao (based on an earlier description by S.S. Chien), in 'Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica' [Chih su fen lei hsüeh pao.] (from Beijing) Vol.20 on Page 100 in 1982.[18] It was originally published as Iris pseudorossii by S.S. Chien in Biol Lab China Association Advancem Science Sect Botany Vol.6 Issue 74 in 1931.[19]

It is written as 粗壮小鸢尾 in Chinese script and known as cu zhuang xiao yuan wei in China.[19]

It is described having leaves measuring 27 cm (11 in) by 0.7 cm (0 in) at bloomingtime. It later extends up to 55 cm (22 in). It has flowering stems 20–28 cm (8–11 in) long. It has flowers that are 5 cm in diameter. It can be found growing in forests, open fields and beside roadsides of Zhejiang, China.[19]


  1. ^ "Iris proantha Diels is an accepted name". (The Plant List). 23 March 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "FOC Vol. 24 Page 301". Flora of China. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Iris proantha". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Iris proantha Diels". (Flora of Pan-Himalayas). Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Iridaceae Iris proantha Diels". (International Plant Names Index). Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Franco, Alain (29 November 2013). "(SPEC) Iris proantha Chien". (American Iris Society). Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Skoog, Bengt (Summer 1989). "BOTANICAL IMPRESSIONS FROM YULONG SHAN". Journal American Rhododendron Society. 43 (No3). Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Plantsman Index 1994–2009". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "INTRODUCTION" (PDF). Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Austin, Claire. "Irises A Garden Encyclopedia" (pdf). pp. 274–275. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Chapitre II iris a touffe et autre (partie1)". Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Thema: Die Planzengattung Iris ... (Gelesen 5316 mal)". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "FOCUS : Botany students collect specimens from exotic and distant places, FACULTY: Botany Department" (PDF). The Flame. The Magazine of Claremont Graduate University. 9 (2): 8. Fall 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Jin, Ming Long; Wu, Ji Hang; Jin, Xiao Feng; Ding, Bing Yang (2012). "The Floristic Analysis of Seed Plants in Hangzhou West Lake Area from Zhejiang Province". 34 (4). Plant Diversity and Resources: 333–338. doi:10.3724/SP.J.1143.2012.12002. 
  15. ^ a b c d British Iris Society (1997) A Guide to Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation, p. 124, at Google Books
  16. ^ a b c d "Iris summary" (pdf). 14 April 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Iris proantha var. valida (S.S.Chien) Y.T.Zhao is an accepted name". 23 March 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Iridaceae Iris proantha Diels var. valida (S.S.Chien) Y.T.Zhao". Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c "FOC Vol. 24 Page 309". efloras. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 


  • Mathew, B. 1981. The Iris. 75. (mentioned under Iris pseudorossii Chien).
  • 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 proantha at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Iris proantha at Wikispecies
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