T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Iris foetidissima (Stinking iris)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Species: I. foetidissima
Binomial name: Iris foetidissima
Common names: Stinking iris, Gladdon, Gladwin iris, Roast-beef plant, Stinking gladwin

Iris foetidissima is a tufted perennial iris <80cm high, whose natural range is Western Europe, including England south of Durham and also Ireland, and from France south and east to N. Africa, Italy and Greece.

In New Zealand it is classed as a invasive weed because it forms dense clumps that excluding other vegetation. It is also poisonous to stock, humans. The poisonous seeds may affect birdlife. It is widespread and it tolerates a wide of habitats. The can be fund growing in disturbed forests, bare ground and in gullies.

From November to December Iris foetidissima produces flowers on erect stems that are up to 80 cm tall. They are up to 10 cm in diameter and are usually a dull, leaden-blue colour, or dull buff-yellow tinged with blue.
The sword-shaped, dark green leaves are leathery and when crushed give of a foul smell.
Flowering is followed by green, 5 cm long, 3-sided seed capsules. These remain on the plant over winter. When mature they split open to release many round, 5mm, scarlet seeds. Seeds are spread by birds and by gravity when the pods split. The plant can also be spread by rhizome fragments being dumped, carried by water and by being attached to machinery.


The seed capsules.


A seed capsule full of seeds.


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/