Iris foetidissima (UK)


Azores, W. Europe to W. & C. Medit. as per WCSP;


Iris foetidissima
(Stinking iris, gladdon, Gladwin iris, roast-beef plant, stinking gladwin), is a species of iris found in open woodland, hedgebanks and sea-cliffs.
Its 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.[1]
It is one of two iris species native to Britain, the other being the yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus).
Its flowers are usually of a dull, leaden-blue colour, or dull buff-yellow tinged with blue; the capsules, which remain attached to the plant throughout the winter, are 5–8 cm long; and the seeds scarlet.
It is known as "stinking" because some people find the smell of its leaves unpleasant when crushed or bruised, an odour that has been described as "beefy".
This plant is cultivated in gardens in the temperate zones. Both the species[2] and its cultivar 'Variegata'[3] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
(from Wikipedia on 1.2.16)
For those of us living in parts of the world (incl. higher elevations in India) which experience a cold winter with frosts and occasional snow (those who have serious snow cover for months on end are excluded) the freezing temperatures overnight should NOT be an excuse not to carry a camera or look out for opportunities to take worthwhile images of plants!
This past week I gave a digital presentation on Kashmir near Twickenham (home of England Rugby - not a game played much in India) which (as I do not drive) involved a train journey via Windsor. There are 2 stations in Windsor with a ten minute walk through parks and passed the Thames.  In one of the parks, not far from Windsor Castle, I spotted, amongst the frost the dry pods of an Iris which is cultivated for the colourful seeds which are displayed during winter months. The light conditions were not suitable on the outward journey (plus my priority
was to arrive on time to deliver my lecture) but I checked on the way back and the conditions were by then favourable - it gets dark early in January.
I managed to get a good set of images (I show an image of this Iris during my presentation on 'Wild Flowers of Britain) to improve on what I currently had.  Have decided to share a selection with members to "brighten up" their winter (for those that have one) and hopefully encourage other photographers to get "out and about". Yes, there will be few (if any) flowers out but a number of plants have fruits/seeds which last during winter months and it is useful to have images of these to ADD to any of the plant in flower.
As I have said before, one cannot always catch a plant PERFECTLY in FULL flower, so having a reference source of images of the FOLIAGE and FRUITS for EVERY species is useful.
So ALWAYS carry your camera (and a spare battery and spare memory card) JUST IN CASE a good opportunity arises and ALWAYS be "ON THE LOOK OUT" for plants to photograph.  So many opportunities are MISSED because one has no camera or where not LOOKING.... 
And some of you may be surprised at the small size of the MODEST second-hand digital camera I use - just 10 x 6 x 3cm and weighing in at a mere 218g, so fits nicely into the chest pocket of the shirts I wear.  
It is SAFE and SOUND there and can RAPIDLY be reached, as at times one just has a few seconds to "catch"  the image in suitable light conditions.  The camera works well as a general-purpose 'travel' camera as well.
So CLEARLY one does not NEED a large and expensive camera.   But it does take practise, experience and some skill to CONSISTENTLY secure sets of close-up images IN FOCUS and CORRECTLY exposed.
Much as my FIRST interest is in WILD plants, do not neglect what is grown in parks and gardens - after all, they were wild once and whilst the PRIORITY for eFI is to accumulate quality images of WILD species which are NATIVE to India, having reference images of other species and cultivated plants (especially those grown in India) is worthwhile, as they can then be readily ELIMINATED as possibilities when trying to track down the identity of a plant found in the wild. Yes, descriptions may exist in books but the ADVANTAGE of eFI are the images provided they are# correctly identified.
There is SO much in the world to trouble, even depress us but PLANTS help RAISE ONE'S SPIRITS - ideally seeing them ourselves but also by SAVOURING fine images shared on eFI by others.
I hope you enjoy my 10 images - even of a plant not native to India nor grown or naturalised there (as far as I know).
Iris foetidissima known as 'Gladdon' or 'Stinking Iris' is found in hedge-banks, open woods and on sea-cliffs.  Found in W.Europe from France southwards, east to Italy and Greece and N.Africa,  Its flowers are purplish (which I shall try and remember to photograph IF I am passing through Windsor again during summer months) but the main 'garden' value is its beautiful orange-red seeds which remain attached in the open pods in mid-winter.

 



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