Herbs & Plants

Iris sanguinea

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Botanical Name : Iris sanguinea
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Sibiricae
Species: I. sanguinea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

*Iris extremorientalis Koidz.
*Iris haematophylla Fisch. [Illegitimate]
*Iris nertschinskia Lodd.
*Iris nertschinskia var. pumila Makino
*Iris orientalis Thunb. [Illegitimate]
*Iris polakii Stapf
*Iris sanguinea f. albiflora Makino
*Iris sanguinea var. coronalis Y.N.Lee
*Iris sanguinea var. sanguinea (unknown)
*Iris sanguinea f. sericiflora Y.N.Lee
*Iris sanguinea f. tetrapetala Doronkin
*Iris sibirica var. orientalis (Schrank) Baker
*Iris sibirica var. sanguinea (Donn ex Hornem.) Ker Gawl.
*Limniris sanguinea (Donn ex Hornem.) Rodion.
*Xiphion orientale Schrank

Common Name : Blood iris

Habitat: Iris sanguinea is native to E. Asia – Korea, Japan. It grows on damp meadows, sunny pond banks, mountain stream banks and hillsides around 500 metres.

Iris sanguinea is a perennial plant growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It has a thick creeping rhizome.
It has grey-green leaves that are more or less the same height as the flowering stems, but as the leaves droop, they appear shorter. The linear, narrow leaves grow between 20–60 cm long and 5-13mm wide.
It has a hollow unbranched flowering stem, that grows up to between 30 and 90 cm (12 and 35.5 in) long. The stems bear two to three flowers, at the terminal ends in early summer, between May and July.
It has three green spathes (leaves of the flower bud), that are reddish at the base, measuring 5–7 cm long and 1 cm wide. It then has a brown papery tip.


The flowers come in a range of reddish-purple shades, from blue to blue-purple, red-violet, with a rare white variants. The flowers are 6–8 cm in diameter.
It has two pairs of petals, three large sepals (outer petals), known as the ‘falls’ and three inner, smaller petals (or tepals, known as the ‘standards’). The large obovate (shaped like an egg), drooping ‘falls’ have reddish-purple veins on a white or yellowish signal. The smaller, erect obovate standards are 4–5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.
It has perianth tube of 8–10 mm long, 3 cm long white filaments, yellow anthers, a cylindric ovary 1.5–2 cm long by 3–4 mm wide, and a reddish-purple style branches 3.5 cm long by 5 mm wide.
In July and September (after the iris has flowered), it produces a seed capsule, which is ellipsoid / cylindric in form and measures 3.5–5 cm long by 1.2–1.5 cm wide.

It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. 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, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Iris sanguinea is often confused with Iris sibirica, another blue flowering Asian iris.

An easily grown plant, it prefers a humus-rich soil, succeeding in a moist border or by water. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very cold tolerant, but they can be damaged when dormant if the soil is too moist. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. Plant the bulbs out very shallowly. 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 in August/September after flowering but can also be done in April. 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:….Expectorant……Expectorant.

Other Uses:.….Insecticide…..An insecticide is obtained from the plant. (from the root?) It is also grown as flower plant in the garden.

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 allergies in some people.

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.


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