Iris anguifuga info

James Waddick
Tue, 06 Sep 2005 12:00:55 PDT
Dear All;
	I collected and introduced this iris from, E. China over 15 
years ago. It has never been offered commercially, but I am arranging 
same in the next year or two. Here's a bit I wrote for Iris City 
Garden in TN. It is possibly related to Spuria Irises, I. 
foetidissima, Syriacae Irises and perhaps some reticulatas.

	I have given it the uninspired cv name of 'Snake Bane' and 
registration with AIS is in progress.

Slightly edited
"	'Snake Bane' is the first named and registered clone of Iris 
anguifuga, a Chinese native iris. This species has had medicinal and 
mystical qualities appreciated by the Chinese possibly for centuries, 
but only described and named recently. The plant produces a single 
spuria-like bloom in mid spring. Shortly after the flower fades, 
seeds are produced and the foliage quickly goes dormant my last 
spring. In myth, the apparent 'weakness of the foliage' allows snakes 
to appear in the garden (come out of dormancy). The plant has no 
obvious foliage all summer. In late fall, the plant produces a few 
short evergreen growths, but this iris fan is 'strong' enough to 
force snakes back into their winter hibernation. Foliage remains 
evergreen even in temps to 0 F and snakes are kept at bay, thus the 
name 'Snake Bane'. The cycle repeats each year as the plant goes 
dormant and snakes appear again in late summer. The Chinese believe 
that planting this iris around homes and gardens will keep snakes 
away. A poultice made from mashed roots is applied to snake bite and 
may even be taken internally although no medicinal benefits are 
	The iris is unique in many ways. It is the only species to 
have a single bract beneath its flower (all others have at least 2) 
and the unusual rhizome is close to a 'missing link' between rhizome 
and bulb. In active growth a thick woody rhizome supports the thin 
foliage, but after a summer's dormancy the rhizome may shrink back to 
a near bulb-like form with a single growing point. The flower has 
narrow spoon shaped falls of purple violet and matching standards of 
thin upright form. Although a single flower does not have garden 
impact, a clump in bloom is distinctive for its form and bloom habit. 
The seed capsule is unique with a long pointed tip.
	Iris anguifuga  'Snake Bane' was collected in China and has 
been vegetatively propagated from a single rhizome in Zone 5 where it 
has proven totally hardy with no  mulch and bloomed yearly in half a 
day's sun and unmodified garden soil. While some may consider this a 
'collector's ' iris it has interesting potential in breeding with 
spuria and other iris. This is the first commercial offering of a 
rare, unusual and intriguing iris species. "

	Any questions? 		Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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