Species Iris Group of North America

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Iris foetidissima

Botanical Name: Iris foetidissima (added by D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Botanical Synonyms:



Foetidissimae (D. Kramb, 09-NOV-03 )

Common Names:

Stinking Gladwyn, Beefsteak Iris (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Chromosome Count:

2n=40 (D. Kramb, 18-SEP-04)

General Description:

12"-35" (30-90cm) tall, usually with dull beige-blue flowers (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Distinguishing Features:

The seed pods split open in autumn to reveal a cluster of bright red seeds which persist throughout much of winter (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Preferred Habitat:

Shade (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)


Estimated Zone 4-8 (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Native Range:

Western Europe, Northwestern (coastal) Africa (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Western Europe, Morocco, Algiers, the Azores, the Canaries. (D. Kramb, 18-SEP-04)

Status in the Wild:


Commercial Availability:

Common (D.Kramb, 05-OCT-03)

Sources Cited:

Info entered on 18-SEP-04 comes from the SIGNA Checklist of Iris Species. (D. Kramb, 18-SEP-04)

Additional Comments:

This species seems to be closely allied to the Spuriae species. I have been able to get seeds from crossing (hybridizing) them, but none of the resulting plants have flowered yet. (D. Kramb, 11-SEP-05)

We have had these plants for the past 3 years but cannot get them to bloom. We are bringing them inside for the winter because we lost the plants we had outside. We live in zone 5. What is the best way to over-winter these plants inside? (Jhainesoh@aol.com, 17-OCT-05)

The flowers readily set seeds in my climate in Ohio. Each season I can count on an abundance of seed pods. (D. Kramb, 04-SEP-06)

This Iris seeds readily and can become a suffocating weed in New Zealand. A group " Friends of Gordon Park " spent some of today weeding a remnant of native N Z forest, this Iris was one of the invasive weeds. (Ian and Jocelyn Bell Wanganui N Z, 04-NOV-06)

I have seen them naturalized in woodlands north of San Francisco when I was looking for wild hybrids of Pacific Coast Native Iris. (Diane Whitehead, 09-APR-08)

Where to buy it:

Arrowhead Alpines

Fraser's Thimble Farms

Gardens North

Joy Creek Nursery

Pacific Rim Native Plant Nursery

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