Species Iris Group of North America

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Iris sicula

Botanical Name: Iris sicula (added by Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Botanical Synonyms:

I. pallida; I. pallida var. sicula (wrongly considered) (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)


Eupogon (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Common Names:

Sicilian Iris (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Chromosome Count:

2n=48, Reference: Prof. Colasante (Filippo Dimatteo, 30-NOV-08)

General Description:

Unusual species with wide, glaucous, rather short (for its general dimensions) leaves. Each stalk is up to 170 cm and bears up to 15-17 flowers on 2-3 branches. Flowers are really big and strongly scented, its color is light blue with mauve shade in the falls which are brown/white striped at the base. (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Distinguishing Features:

Summer dormancy is very marked and leaves are totally lost by rhyzomes, which keeps only the basal sheath and appears quite scaly. All other bearded irises keeps a bit of leaves (dead or alive) attached to the rhyzomes. Iris sicula is the giant of all bearded and its dimensions shouldn't create any confusion with other species. (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Preferred Habitat:

Rocky, sandy, and ever well drained and rather poor soils in open and sunny places. (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)


Totally dry and hot rest in summer. (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Native Range:

Endemic of Sicily and its minor islands; Malta (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Status in the Wild:

Not so common in its natural habitat (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Commercial Availability:

Not available till now in commerce (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Sources Cited:


Additional Comments:

Some botanists consider this species as synonym of Iris pallida but reading the species description is evident that nobody of those botanists has ever seen this species. It can be interesting to study its genetic affinities with other species because I. sicula is unique for its peculiarities. In cultivation it's a very vigorous plant and needs only a very dry and hot summer dormancy. Too wet and cold winter can cause rhyzome's rot. I suggest an Arilbred-like cultivation in northern climates (Filippo Dimatteo, 01-OCT-08)

Where to buy it:

Sorry, but no sources of Iris sicula have been uploaded yet.

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