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Iris foetidissima L.
Family Iridaceae
Common name: Stinking Iris, Roast Beef Plant, Gladwyn Iris, Gladdon Iris

Iris foetidissima L. APNI*

Description: Clump-forming evergreen herb to 100 cm high (usually c. 50 cm); compact tough rhizomes below soil surface, 1–1.5 cm diam, rapidly spreading but maintain clumping habit.

Leaves leathery, closely and densely set along rhizome, sword-shaped, 30–70 cm long, c. 1–2.5 cm wide, apex acute, surfaces dark green.

Scape 1- 3-branched, somewhat flattened; cymes 1–3-flowered; spathe bracts ovate, 5–10 cm long. Flowers 5–7 cm diam., dull purplish-grey tinged with yellow falls with dull yellow standards, more typically in Australia and New Zealand it is a yellow flowered variant that is naturalised, pedicel 2–10 cm long. Perianth tube c. 1 cm long, broad and cup-like; lobes oblong-obovate, emarginate, c. 5 cm long, c. 1.5 cm wide, gradually narrowed to base, margins very slightly undulate to flat; outer lobes (falls) recurved, lacking beard; inner lobes (standards) spreading , becoming recurved with age, glabrous. Style branches c. 1 cm wide, spathulate, brownish-yellow.

Capsule splits into three, each locule twists, exposing two rows of globose fleshy orange seeds c. 5 mm diam., these can persist for several months.

Photo R. Medd

Photo R. Medd

Photo R. Medd

Other photo
Photo R. Medd

Flowering: Spring in to early summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Reported as somewhat weedy (garden escape) in the Orange area and also reported from Mt Gibraltar between the quarry and human habitation. Native to western Europe from Portugal to Italy and northwards to Scotland and Ireland. Also in Morocco, Algiers, the Azores and the Canaries (Matthew 1981. The Iris. Batsford Ltd, London).

Although it can grow in full sun this species flowers and grows more profusely in lightly shaded situations.
NSW subdivisions: *CT
Other Australian states: Vic.
AVH map***

Named for the unpleasant smell the leaves produce when crushed. Common names: stinking iris (Aus, NZ); roast beef plant, gladwyn or gladdon iris (UK)

Text by E.A. Brown (2013); edited KL Wilson (Jan 2015)
Taxon concept:

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.
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