Introduced in England in 1902, having all the airs and graces of antiquities with it's very Persian look is delighting us with it's start of bloom today. Very easy to grow just plant and forget but please remember where you planted it as you could pull it out as a strange weed!
As a reference for your information I have copied below the expansive writings of Sir Michael Foster regarding these bulbs collected by others in Bokhara (the capital of the Bukhara Province,Uzbekistan) published in The Gardeners’ Chronicle 1902, the article is also noted as a source of information regarding the identification of Iris Bucharica in the American Iris Society Checklist of 1929.
The Gardeners’ Chronicle, June 14th, 1902.
NEW OR NOTEWORTHY PLANTS.
NEW I R I S E S.
In the course of last year Messrs. Van Tubergen received from their collector in Bokhara a consignment of bulbs obviously belonging to the Juno group of Irises, collected in that country. They arrived in several numbered collections, presumably gathered from different spots; but on flowering proved to belong to two forms only, to which, for reasons given below, I have ventured to apply the above names.
Iris Bucharica, Foster, sp. n.
Bulb similar to that of I. orchioides, but in the specimens received more globose. Stem, about 1 foot or 1½ foot high, bearing six or seven leaves, each of which sheathes the stem at its base, and three, four, or more flowers. So far the plant in its general features resembles I. orchioides, but the leaves are somewhat shorter and less gradually pointed, and more distinctly striated on the under surface. Moreover, while in I. orchioides each flower is set on a distinct peduncle, in this plant the peduncle is quite short, or the flower is actually sessile. The horny margin of the leaf bears, as in I. orchioides, a number of inconspicuous setæ. The plants are smaller, shorter, and more slender than those of I. orchioides, but this difference may disappear on further cultivation. Spathe valves, as in I. orchioides, longer than the tube, narrow, not inflated, slightly scarious at the tip.
The outer petal, fall, consists of a strap- shaped claw, -which, after an inconspicuous constriction, expands into a much broader, obovate, emarginate blade, which bears on its hinder two-thirds a large plicate crest, continued along the claw as an inconspicuous median ridge.
The claw is pare white in colour, the blade with the crest a rich golden yellow, which suddenly ceases where the blade joins the claw. By the side of the crest over the blade are a few diverging dark purple, almost black veins, varying in intensity in different flowers. Messrs. Van Tubergen inform me that some of the plants show variations in the markings.
The inner petal, standard, small, pure white, extended horizontally, consists of a caniculate claw expanding into a broader, flat, distinctly mucronate blade.
Styles large, pure white, with large white, quadrate, or in some plants deltoid crests. Anthers as long as, or slightly longer than the filament.
Tube about three times as long as the rounded, trigonal, thin-walled ovary.
Seeds not as yet seen. Ripening capsule, like that of I. orchioides, long, rounded trigonial
Habitat, Eastern Bokhara, on mountain slopes, altitude 5000 to 6000 feet, on sides of river Sureh-ab, a tributary of the Amu Darya.
The points of specific difference between this plant and I. orchioides lie in the flower. In I. orchioides the outer petal is simply strap-shaped, with no obvious distinction between claw and blade ; and the crest is less conspicuous. In I. orchioides the inner petal is lanceolate, and never, so far as I have seen, distinctly mucronate, as in the plant now described. In I. orchioides the crests of the style are smaller, and the anthers are apparently always shorter than the filaments.
M. Foster, Shelford May 20, 1902.
|Courtesy 'The Gardeners’ Chronicle'|
The Gardeners’ Chronicle, April 18th, 1903.
I find that my description of Iris bucharica (Gardeners’ Chronicle June 14th 1902, p 385), I underated it's, at least possible, dimensions. I have now in flower a plant whose stem is 22 inches high ; the lower leaves are 1 foot long, and 2½ inches wide at the broadest part. It bears no less than 10 flowers and in the flower the outer petal (fall) is 2⅞ inches long, by 1½ inches at its broadest, whilst the style is 2¼ inches long by 1⅛ inches at its broadest. It is really a very fine plant. M. Foster, Shelford.
AIS Checklist 1929
bucharica. Jun-W (Foster 1902 Bokhara) Gardeners’ Chronicle 91 : 385. figure 387. 1902. Gardeners’ Chronicle 93 : 251 1903: Barr 1903 : Krelage & sons 1905 : 1913: Grullemans 1907 : Eddy Garden Service 1929 : F.C.C R.H.S. 8th April 1902, shown by Willmott ; BOKHARA I.
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Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.