Botanical Name: Iris macrosiphon
Species: I. macrosiphon
Synonyms: Iris amabilis, Iris californica, Iris elata.
Common Name: Bowltube Iris
Habitat : Iris macrosiphon is native to South-western N. America – California to Oregon. It grows on the sunny grassy to woodland slopes below 1000 metres in California. Sunny hillsides, meadows and roadsides.
Iris macrosiphon is a perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in). The leaves are very slender, 2.5-5 mm wide, and blue-green in color. It is in flower from May to June. The flower is variable, golden yellow to cream or pale lavender to deep blue-purple, generally with darker veins. The flower stems are usually short (less than 25 cm) when in the sun and bear 2 flowers. It blooms in spring.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Requires a well-drained lime-free soil. Requires a moist soil, growing well by water. Grows well in light shade. Plants resent root disturbance, any moving is best done in early September. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus, particularly other Pacific coast irises. Iris macrosiphon hybridizes with I. chrysophylla, I. douglasiana, I. fernaldii, I. hartwegii, I. innominata, I. munzii, I. purdyi, I. tenax, and I. tenuissima. Not all provenances of this species are hardy in Britain. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Medicinal Uses: The roots are used to hasten the birth of a child.
A fibre is obtained from the leaves. Traditionally the N. American Indians would take just the one outside fibre from each side of a leaf. This must have necessitated using a huge number of leaves. It makes a beautifully strong and pliable cord or rope. The fibre can also be used for making paper. The leaves are harvested in summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin and are then soaked in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 3 hours. They make a light tan paper.
The fiber was used for fish nets, deer snares and other items.
It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant, where it prefers dry summer dormancy, with good drainage.
Known Hazards: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and all.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.