From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia
Template:Italic titleTemplate:Taxobox Iris tenuifolia is a beardless iris in the genus Iris, in the subgenus Limniris and in the Tenuifoliae series of the species. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial, from a wide region over central Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, (the former Soviet Union republics of); Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia and in China. It has long greyish-green leaves, short stem and pale violet, lilac, pale blue, or purple flowers.
It has a dark brown, thin, short, knobbly, tough, wood-like rhizomes. Underneath, it has a network of fibrous roots. On top of the rhizome, at the base of the leaves, are the brown or red-brown, fibrous remains of the previous seasons leaves. Which act as sheaths, for the new leaves. The sheaths can be up to Template:Convert long.
It has greyish-green, linear, twisted, leaves, that can grow between Template:Convert long and 1.5–2 mm wide. They do not have a mid-vein but paralled veins, and are acuminate (ending in a point). They continue to grow after blooming, and can end up as a mass of twisted leaves.
The leaves are longer than the flowering stems.
The scented flowers, are Template:Convert in diameter, and come in shades of pale violet, lilac, pale blue, or purple. 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'. The falls are spatulate (spoon shaped) or obovate-lanceolate, Template:Convert long and Template:Convert wide. They have a thin central yellow crest or mid-vein, dark veins (on a pale colour), and a band of papillose (or small hairs). The narrower, oblanceolate, erect standards are Template:Convert long and 5–9 mm wide.
After the iris has flowered, between late July and early August (in Russia), or between August and September (in China). It produces an ovoid or sub-globose, Template:Convert long and Template:Convert wide, seed capsule. It has short beak-like appendage on the top.
Often, the seed capsule is hidden by the long leaves.
Between 2007 and 2011, a study was carried out on chemical constituents and pharmacological activities of Iris tenuifolia and Iris halophila. Using chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques. The irises have been used in various tradition herbal remedy’s, such as traditional Mongolian herb medicine and Uighur herb medicine.
In 2008, several chemical compounds were extracted from Iris tenuifolia. These included; 'izalpinin', 'alpinone', 'arborinone', 'irilin B', 'irisone A', 'irisone B', 'betavulgarin', 'beta-sitosterol' '5,7-dihydroxy-2', '6-dimethoxy-isoflavone' , 2',5-dihdroxy-6,7-methylenedioxy flavanone, 'irisoid A' and 'ethyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside'. Also 2 new compounds were found, tenuifodione and tenuifone. All found using spectroscopic methods.
In 2012, a genetic study was carried out on Iris laevigata and several of its closely related iris species, including Iris ensata, Iris setosa, Iris halophila, Iris scariosa, Iris potaninii, Iris tenuifolia, Iris bloudowii, and Iris sanguinea. 
It has the common names of Egeria Iris Note; 'Egeria' means water buffaloes or cows pulling (in China). Another common name is narrow leafed iris, or fine leaved iris, or slender-leaf iris, or silk leaves Iris.
Distribution and habitat
In the middle Asian countries of (the former Soviet Union republics of); Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Also found in regions of Russia, including Agin-Buryat Okrug, Bashkortostan, Chelyabinsk, Chita and Siberia.
It is listed with Iris bloudowii, Iris humilis, Iris ruthenica, Iris sibirica and Iris tigridia as being found in the Altai-Sayan region (where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together).
It is found within central China, in the provinces of Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, (Shangdong), Shanxi, Xinjiang and Xizang.
It is grown in semi-desert, desert or mild mountainous areas.
In north east China, it is found growing on poor soils on open tree-less plains.
In 2003, it was listed as an endemic vascular species of the temperate steppe region of Inner Mongolia, China, along with Stipa grandis, Artemisia frigida, Festuca ovina, Thymus serpyllum, Caragana microphylla, Koeleria cristata and others.
It is hardy, if sited in a northern continental climate. Similar to Nebraska, North Dakota or South Dakota. It is hardy in parts of Russia. It has been grown in Moscow, St Petersburg and Chita.
They prefer positions in full sun.
It needs to be kept dry during winter, needing the protection of bulb frames (in the UK). It only needs water during the growing period. The plant loses its foliage during the winter, as it is removed by the forces of wind, snow and other bad weather conditions. It then re-grows leaves, in April and May.
In other flowering regions, the seed can be harvested in autumn, washed, fresh or dried.
Hybrids and Cultivars
The Iris genus has been used as a traditional folk medicine, used to treat a variety of diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, bacterial and viral infections. It was found that compounds isolated from Iris germanica have anti-tumor, anti-oxidation, anti-malarial parasite and anti-TB and other positive effects.
The roots, seeds and flowers of the iris, are used as ingredients in herbal medicines. They have been used as tocolysis (also called anti-contraction medications or labor represents) and to treat fetal metrorrhagia.
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