From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia
Template:Italic titleTemplate:Taxobox Iris scariosa is a species in the genus Iris, it is also in the subgenus of Iris. It is a rhizomatous perennial, from the mountainsides of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. It has sword-like, or sickle shaped, blue green or grey-green leaves, a short flowering stem, 3 or 4 membranous or semi-transparent flower bud leaves, 2 violet, reddish violet, lilac, blue-purple, or blue flowers in late spring, with yellow or white beards. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions. It was merged with another similar iris in the region, and Iris glaucescens became a synonym of Iris scariosa, before being divided into two separate species again. Although some sources still call it the main species, despite a slight colour difference.
It has a yellow-white, thick, fleshy rhizome, that is between Template:Convert in diameter. Under the rhizome are secondary stolon-like roots. On top of the rhizome, are the yellow-white, fibrous remains of last seasons leaves. The creeping habit of the ground covering rhizomes, makes small tufts of plants.
It has ensiform (sword-shaped), sub-lanceolate, or falcate (sickle-shaped), blue-grey, or grey-green leaves. They can grow up to between Template:Convert long, and between 1 and 1.8 cm wide. They are generally longer than the flowering stem.
The stem has 3 or 4, thin, lanceolate, spathes (leaves of the flower bud), they are (scarious) membranous, and semi-transparent. They are Template:Convert long, and 1.5–2 cm wide. They have a reddish purple, or lilac margins.
The unscented, flowers are Template:Convert in diameter, come in shades of violet, reddish violet, lilac, blue-purple, or blue. Some sources also refer to rarely, near white or yellow shaded flowers, but these may, however only refer to Iris glaucescens.
Like other irises, 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'.Template:Rp The falls are oblong, or obovate shaped, with a narrow claw (section near the stem). They are Template:Convert long and 1.5 cm wide. In the centre of each of the falls is a yellow 'beard' of hairs, but it can be sometime white on the blade (the wide part of the petal). The erect, oblanceolate shaped standards, are Template:Convert long and 0.5 cm wide.
After the iris has flowered, between mid to late summer, or June to August, or June to July. It produces an ovoid, or cylindrical spindle, or oblong shaped seed capsule. Which is Template:Convert long and 2.5–3 cm in diameter. It has 6 visible veins or ribs. The loculicidal (having compartments) capsule, holds dark brown, round or elongated seeds, that are 4-5,5mm long and 2–3 mm wide.
In 1961, a study was carried out on various iris species in Russia, it found the chromosomal count of Iris scariosa was 2n=24.
In 2012, a genetic study was carried out on Iris laevigata and its from several closely related iris species, including Iris ensata, Iris setosa, Iris halophila, Iris scariosa, Iris potaninii, Iris tenuifolia, Iris bloudowii, and Iris sanguinea.
As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes, this can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.Template:Rp Iris scariosa has a chromosome count: 2n=24. Although one source also mentions 2n=40.
It was first described by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link and then published by Karl Ludwig Willdenow (using Link's description of the plant), in 'Jahrbücher der Gewächskunde' (of Berlin and Leipzig, Jahrb. Gewächsk.) Vol.1 Issue3, page71 in 1820. 
It was later published by Carl Ledebour in 'Fl Ross' Vol.4 page104 in 1853, then in 'Gartenflora' Vol.27 page325 in 1878, with a colour illustration (labelled as Iris eulefeldi). then by Maxim in 'Bull Acad Sci St. Petersb' Vol.26 page534 in 1880 and by Boris Fedtschenko in 'Kom Fl URSS' Vol.4 page550 in 1935.
In 1979, Shevchenko (Iris L. in A.I. Galushko (edited) 'Flora Severnogo Kavkaza' Vol.3 page79, University of Rostov) divided Iris glaucescens and Iris scariosa into 2 separate species. He thought that there was several morphological and ecological differences between the 2 species. But he did not publish these. Also he noted that the Iris scariosa distribution range was limited to west of the Caspian Sea. But this range classification is disputed by other authors, although most sources still split the two irises into separate species.
Iris scariosa is not yet an accepted name by the RHS.
Distribution and habitat
In China, it is found on the Tarbagatai Mountains and Maili mountains, with other plant species including; Fritillaria yuminensis, Paeonia hybrida Pall., Corydalis nobilis Pers., the cowslip Primula veris L. subsp. macrocalyx (Bunge), Glaucium squamigerum Kar. & Kir. and Chelidonium majus L. var grandiflorum Willd.
It is limited in habitat, due to intensive grazing of the land.
It is hardy in Europe to Zone H2, meaning hardy to -15 to-20oC (5 to -4oF). It has been tested for hardiness in Russia, in the botanical gardens of Moscow, Stavrapole, and St. Petersburg. It was only cold resistant in Stavrapole.
It prefers to grow in well drained soils in full sun.
Hybrids and Cultivars
Due to its high drought and salt tolerance, it would be useful or interesting in plant breeding programmes. As a diploid iris, it is unlikely to produce fertile offspring in crosses to other types of iris. So it has not been used.
Like many other irises, most parts of the plant are poisonous (rhizome and leaves), if mistakenly ingested can cause stomach pains and vomiting. Also handling the plant may cause a skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
In China, the rhizome of Iris scariosa has been used to treat swollen gums, anti-inflammatory pains, also sore throat (or chronic pharyngitis,) and hoarseness. The rhizome was ground into a powder, then mixed with honey.
- Czerepanov, S. K. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states (the former USSR).
- Khassanov, F. O. & N. Rakhimova. 2012. Taxonomic revision of the genus Iris L. (Iridaceae Juss.) for the flora of Central Asia. Stapfia 97:177.
- Komarov, V. L. et al., eds. 1934–1964. Flora SSSR.
- Mathew, B. 1981. The Iris. 34.
- Waddick, J. W. & Zhao Yu-tang. 1992. Iris of China.
- Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).
- Has images of Iris ruthenica, Iris humilis and Iris scariosa from the Altai Mountains
- Has an image of clump of the iris in Kazakhstan
- Images of the iris in China