Beardless Iris Species S-Z

Mathew’s subgenus Limniris are Irises that grow from rhizomes and are beardless. They are native to North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Many of these plants are found in wetlands and some require moist rich soils while others can dry out a little. Mathew has divided this group into two sections. One section is Lophiris or the Crested Irises. The other section is Limniris which includes all the rest. This section is further divided into many sub groupings. The only subgroup that we have included at this stage on our wiki is Pacific Coast Irises. All the others are listed on this page and other Beardless iris wiki pages. Species S-Z will be listed on this page.

For information about the others consult Beardless iris A-K - Beardless iris L-R

Iris species from all groups are listed alphabetically on the Iris wiki page.


Iris setosa is a species from various parts of the world (Eastern Asia, Canada, and the United States). Flowers are bright purple. The name setosa means bristly, perhaps referring to the standards being almost absent; a common name is "bristle point iris". Photo by John Lonsdale, seed on a 10 mm grid photo by David Pilling.

Iris setosa, John LonsdaleIris setosa seed, David Pilling

Iris sibirica has blue violet and occasionally white flowers and is native to Italy, eastern Europe to Lake Baikal, Turkey and the Caucasus and blooms late spring to early summer. It is a wetland beardless rhizome type. Photos 1-2 taken by Bob Rutemoeller May 2004 at Wisley Gardens in England that were named with cultivar names. We didn't know if they are actually this species or Siberian hybrids (Iris sibirica × Iris sanguinea). The signs called them Iris sibirica 'Heavenly Blue' and Iris sibirica 'Navy Blue'. Photos 3-5 from Hans Joschko.

Iris sibirica 'Heavenly Blue', Bob RutemoellerIris sibirica 'Navy Blue', Bob RutemoellerIris sibirica, Hans JoschkoIris sibirica, Hans JoschkoIris sibirica seed pods, Hans Joschko

Photographs by David Pilling. This is a 'pass along plant', easily propagated from a chunk of rhizome, producing a thick clump of foliage that dies back in Autumn and re-emerges in Spring. It has persisted in the garden for 50 years. Seeds are set rarely but sometimes a lot are produced, apparently it comes true from seed. Stems are around four feet high with more than one flower. The last photo shows seed and a seed pod on a 10 mm grid, the seed looks different to any Iris sibirica seed photos on the web, so this is likely to be a hybrid.

Iris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David Pilling

Iris sichuanensis is distributed in the northwest of Sichuan, China. Photo by Alessandro Marinello.

Iris sichuanensis, Alessandro Marinello

Iris sintenisii is from Southern Italy, the Balkan peninsula and Turkey. It has deep violet-blue flowers with white falls and violet veins. The plant is practically impossible to spot in the grass when not in flower since the leaves are totally grass-like. This species is closely related to Iris graminea but in Italy these species have a distinct distribution, with Iris sintenisii occurring only in Southern Italy. Ants are the main pollinator; they visit actively the scentless flowers which secrete droplets of nectar at the base of tepals. Photos in habitat in Apulia by Angelo Porcelli

Iris sintenisii, Angelo PorcelliIris sintenisii, Angelo PorcelliIris sintenisii, Angelo Porcelli

Iris sintenisii ssp. brandzae (Prodán) D.A.Webb & Chater, syn. Iris brandzae Prod. is a rare species from Romania with narrow leaves. Note: Some databases list this as a subspecies of Iris sintenisii and in other databases it is listed as a species. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Iris sintenisii ssp. brandzae, John LonsdaleIris sintenisii ssp. brandzae, John LonsdaleIris sintenisii ssp. brandzae, John LonsdaleIris sintenisii ssp. brandzae, John LonsdaleIris sintenisii ssp. brandzae, John Lonsdale

Iris speculatrix is from southeast China and has short evergreen leaves and lavender flowers. Photo by John Lonsdale.

Iris speculatrix, John Lonsdale

Iris spuria has a vast range from Sweden to north Africa and east to Iran. Here is one of its garden hybrids, blooming on June 3, 2008 in the zone 7 Maryland garden of Jim McKenney. It took three years for this plant to bloom from a freshly dug division.

Iris spuria hybrid, Jim McKenney

Iris unguicularis is a species from the Mediterranean region with pale to rich lavender fragrant flowers. It is a late autumn and winter flowering species with flowers blooming low to the ground and sometimes hidden by the leaves. This species is best grown unmulched with little to no summer water. Cutting the leaves back in late summer to early fall allows the beautiful flowers to be more visible. New leaves appear September and October and this is the best time to divide this species. The first photo below by Bob Rutemoeller shows one that is a darker color than the cultivar grown by Rob Hamilton (see below). The second photo shows a a freshly picked flower which was blooming on November 24, 2006 in the zone 7 Montgomery County, Maryland garden of Jim McKenney. This image gives a good sense of the size of the flower of this species. Photos 3-5 were taken by Nhu Nguyen at the UC Botanical Garden showing original stock collected in Greece of this species.

Iris unguicularis, Bob RutemoellerIris unguicularis, Jim McKenneyIris unguicularis, Nhu NguyenIris unguicularis, Nhu NguyenIris unguicularis, Nhu Nguyen

Iris unguicularis 'Starkers Pink' grown and photographed by Rob Hamilton.

Iris unguicularis 'Starkers Pink', Rob Hamilton

Iris verna is from the southeastern United States. It flowers is early to mid spring and has lilac blue flowers with an orange median stripe on the falls. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Iris verna, John LonsdaleIris verna, John Lonsdale

Iris virginica known as the Eastern or Southern Blue Flag is native to the southeastern coast of the United States. It flowers late spring. And has blue, violet, lilac, lavender or occasionally pinkish-lavender or white flowers.

Iris virginica var. shrevei growing in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Native to Texas as well as the Mississippi Valley to Canada. Photo taken April 2004 by Lee Poulsen.

Iris virginica var. shrevei, Lee Poulsen

'Contraband Girl' is a vigorous, tall selection of I. virginica with blue flowers. This name is controversial since it appears to have been registered for two different plants - see the PBS list discussion starting here. Photo taken April 2007 buy Jay Yourch.

Iris virginica 'Contraband Girl', Jay Yourch

Iris Index - Beardless iris A-K - Beardless iris L-R - Beardless iris S-Z - Crested Irises - Garden Bearded Irises - Juno iris A-I - Juno iris J-R - Juno iris S-Z - Aril Irises - Miscellaneous Irises - Pacific Coast Irises - Reticulata Irises - Spanish Irises - Belamcanda - Hermodactylus - Pardanthopsis


Return to the PBS wiki Photographs And Information page
Page last modified on June 21, 2015, at 06:46 AM