Fine Art

Iris filifolia

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Iridaceae
Subfamilia: Iridoideae
Tribus: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: I. subg. Xiphium
Species: Iris filifolia

Iris filifolia Boiss., Voy. Bot. Espagne 2: 602. 1842.


Iris filifolia Bunge = Iris longiscapa Ledeb.


Xiphion filifolium (Boiss.) Klatt, Linnaea 34: 571. 1866.

Iris filifolia subvar. latifolia (Baker) Maire, Contr. Étude Fl. Afr. N.: 739. 1929.
Xiphion filifolium var. latifolium Baker, Gard. Chron., n.s., 5: s.p. 1876.
Xiphion tingitanum Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 98: t. 5981. 1872, nom. illeg. non Baker (1871).

Native distribution areas:
Primary references

Boissier, P.E. 1839–1845. Voyage botanique dans le midi de l'Espagne pendant l'année 1837. Tome II. 757 pp. Paris: Gide. Biblioteca Digital Reference page. 2: 602, t. 170.

Additional references

Tutin, T.G., Heywood, V.H., Burges, N.A., Moore, D.M., Valentine, D.H., Walters, S.M. & Webb, D.A. (eds.) 1980. Flora Europaea. Volume 5: Alismataceae to Orchidaceae (Monocotyledones). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge / London / New Rochelle / Melbourne / Sydney, xxxvi + 452 pp., ISBN 0-521-20108-X. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Iris filifolia in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Feb 10. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Iris filifolia. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Feb 10. Reference page. 2022. Iris filifolia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 10 Feb 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Iris filifolia. Published online. Accessed: Feb 10 2022.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Iris filifolia in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 2022 Feb 10.

Vernacular names
čeština: kosatec nitkovitý
فارسی: زنبق برگرشتهای
русский: Ирис нителистный

Iris filifolia is a species in the genus Iris, it is also in the subgenus Xiphium. It is a bulbous perennial from North Africa and Europe. It has thin leaves, summer flowers in shades of red-purple.


It has 3 mm wide leaves,[4] which appear in the autumn.[5] It normally reaches a height of 10-16 inches (or 25–40 cm).[6] But can reach up to 45 cm tall.[5] It flowers between March and June.[6] Normally more than 2 flowers per stem.[7] When the flowering shoot comes out of the ground it is covered in a purple or white blotched sheath.[4] These then open up to revel red-purple flowers with orange spots,[6] or yellow stripe on the falls.[8]

As most irises are diploid, having two sets of chromosomes, this can be used to identify hybrids and classification of groupings.[6] It has a chromosome count: 2n=32.[8]

Its name means 'thread-leaved iris'.[9]

In Gibraltar, it is also known as the 'Narrow-leaved Purple Iris'.[10]

It is often mistakenly called 'Spanish Iris'.[11] The Spanish Iris is Iris xiphium.

In 1842, it was first described by Pierre Edmond Boissier in 'Voyage botanique en Espagne' Vol 2, on page 602.[12] Dykes notes that this description is incorrect.[13] It was also described in Curtis's Botanical Magazine No.5929 as 'Xiphion filifolium'.[3]

It was recorded in the Catalogue of Life in 2011,[2] and it was verified by United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service on 4 April 2003, and updated on 14 November 2005.[14]
Distribution and habitat

It is native to temperate regions of North Africa and Europe.[14]

It was found originally on Sierra de Mijas,[15] and Sierra Bermeja in Spain, at 3,000–4,000 ft (910–1,220 m) above sea level.[3]

It is found within Africa, in Morocco, (near Tangier,[6][8]) and within Europe, in Southwestern Spain,[14][6][8] and in Gibraltar.[10][8]

Iris filifolia likes to grow in sandy areas.[16]

It is best grown in a bulb frame in the UK.[17]

It is known to be toxic like other bulbs in the genus.[18]

Several known cultivars are;[3]

'A. Bloemaard' (dark blue)[19]
'Filifolia Alba'
'Filifolia Elizabeth'
'Filifolia Imperator'
'Filifolia Praecox'
'Queen Of Gazelles'


Iris filifolia var. latifolia (Foster) wide leaved variant [5]
Iris filifolia var. filifolia (Boiss) and thread-like leaved variant,


Crespo, M.B. (2017). "Iris filifolia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T13161707A65077657. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T13161707A65077657.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
Roskov Y.; Kunze T.; Orrell T.; et al., eds. (2011). "Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2014 Annual Checklist". Species 2000: Reading, UK. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
"(SPEC) Iris filifolia Boiss". (American Iris Society). Retrieved 29 July 2014.
James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey (Editors) The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification, p. 259, at Google Books
British Iris Society (1997) A Guide to Species Irises: Their Identification and Cultivation , p. 221, at Google Books
Austin, Claire (2005). Irises: A Gardener's Encyclopedia. Timber Press, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0881927306. OL 8176432M.
"Iris filifolia Boiss". Retrieved 21 July 2014.
"Iris summary" (PDF). 14 April 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
Ivan Nikolaevič Filipév and Jacobus Hermanus Schuurmans Stekhoven A Manual of Agricultural Helminthology, p. 284, at Google Books
Linares, Leslie L. "Gibraltar Flora". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
"Iris filifolia". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
"Iris filifolia Boiss". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
Dykes, William R. "Dykes on Irises (Reprints of Journals)" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2014.
"Iris filifolia". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 8 February 2018.
CRESPO VILLALBA, Manuel B. (2012). "Nomenclatural Types OF Iberian Irises (Iris and Related Genera, Iridaceae)" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2014.
Rosenberg, Kristin. "Flowers of Gibraltar". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
Cassidy, G.E.; Linnegar, S. (1987). Growing Irises (Revised ed.). Bromley: Christopher Helm. p. 74. ISBN 0-88192-089-4.
"Iris filifolia - Boiss". Retrieved 30 July 2014.

Griffiths, David (April 1928). "Production of Certain Iris Bulbs". Retrieved 30 July 2014.

Other sources

Fennane, M. & M. I. Tattou 1998. Catalogue des plantes vasculaires rares, menacées ou endémiques du Maroc (Bocconea) 8:205.
Jahandiez, E. & R. Maire Catalogue des plantes du Maroc. 1931-1941 (L Maroc)
Maire, R. C. J. E. et al. Flore de l'Afrique du Nord. 1952- (F Afr Nord)
Mathew, B. The Iris. 1981 (Iris) 136.
Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. Flora europaea. 1964-1980 (F Eur)

Plants, Fine Art Prints

Plants Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World