Iris laevigata Fisch. APNI*
Description: Clump-forming evergreen herb 80–100 cm high; stem base with maroon-brown fibrous and hairlike remains of old leaves; rhizome creeping, c. 1 cm diam., maroon-brown.
Leaves closely and densely set along rhizome, sword-shaped, typically 70–100 cm long, c. 1–1.5 cm wide, apex acute, light green, thin, drooping at tips.
Scape terete, with several leaflets in lower half, often with 1 branch, cymes 2–4-flowered; spathe lanceolate, 6–9 cm long, membranous. Flowers to c. 10 cm diam., blue-purple, pedicel 1–3.5 cm long. Perianth tube c. 2cm long, trumpet shaped; outer lobes (falls) lacking beard, obovate or elliptical, 7.5–9 cm x 4–4.5 cm, pendulous, with narrow yellow basal area (haft); inner lobes (standards) oblanceolate 5–6.5 cm x 0.8–1.5 cm, erect. Style branches flat, petalloid, crest semirounded and undulate.
Capsule c. 7 x 2 cm, oblong-elliptic, 3 of ridges prominent; seeds brown, glossy, flattened on one side.
Flowering: Spring in to early summer.
Distribution and occurrence: Reported as naturalised in one place at Port Stephens but needs checking as it may just be a garden escape. Native to eastern Asia, from Lake Baikal and the Altai regions of central Russia eastwards through northern China and Korea to Japan (Matthew 1981 The Iris. Batsford Ltd, London).
Grows alongside lakes, waterways and in swamps.
NSW subdivisions: *NC
Waddick & Zhoa (1992 - Iris of China. Timber Press, Portland) report common names: swallow flower, flat-leaved iris, glossy-leaved iris but there are no widely used common names in Australia or New Zealand.
Text by E.A. Brown (2006)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.