Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Iris x lurida Ait.

Iris lurida  is a confused name.  Iris x lurida Ait. is probably a hybrid between Iris variegata L. and Iris pallida Lam., a variety of I. germanica.  These species cross freely where their ranges coincide.  It was figured by Redouté at the end of the 18th century and is sometimes called Iris redoutiana Spach.  It is variable, but intermediate between the parents, with maroon to purple-brown flowers with yellow beards, spring flowering, often with an autumn flush.  [RHSD, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

This is probably Iris lurida, the ‘Dingy flag’, figured in Curtis’s Botanic Magazine.  ‘Flowers early in May: its bloom is sweetish, and not entirely scentless, as described in Hort. Kew. where it is suspected to be a variety of Iris sambucina; a native of the southern parts of Europe; cultivated by Miller in 1758.’  [BM t.669/1803].  

Until 1900 all tall bearded irises arose from I. variegata and I. pallida crosses.  A number are included in the Camden catalogues.  Iris x lurida is suggested as the name for all such hybrids.  [Source unknown].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.242/1843].


Iris lurida Boiss. = Iris sari Schott ex Bak., synonym Iris lupina Fost., a rhizomatous, bearded, iris from the Middle East, with leaves to 9cm long, and a single, ruffled, crimson-veined, cream flower per stem in summer.  Each fall has a crimson or brown patch and a yellow beard.  [RHSE, Hortus].  This is a possibility.  I have found no date for Boissier’s description.

Iris lurida Rchb. ex Nyman is given as a synonym of both Iris germanica L. and Iris squalens.  The latter, from Central and Southern Europe, has lilac-purple flowers striped with yellow, and according to Johnson's Dictionary was introduced to Britain in 1768.  Whether this is the Iris squalens of Georgi, which has been related to Iris germanica L., or of Petanga, related to Iris sambucina, is unclear.  To add further confusion Iris squalens Berg is snonymous with Iris variegata L.  Iris squalens is reportedly synonymous with Iris x sambucina of some but not with the I. sambucina of Linnaeus.  [Hortus, JD, PD].  ‘It was only in compliance with the general, though erroneous, appellation of the later Botanists, that we did not restore Linnaeus’ name of sambucina to our pallida and apply this of squalens to our sambucina and its varieties.’  [BM t.787/1804].  [See also Iris sambucina L.].  

Published Nov 03, 2009 - 05:22 PM | Last updated Aug 05, 2011 - 03:39 PM

Figured is a bearded iris with pale mauve flowers with purple falls.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.669, 1803.

Iris x lurida Ait. | BM t.669/1803 | BHL 


Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe

  • Iris redoutiana Spach.


Common Name

Dingy flag

Name in the Camden Park Record

Iris lurida


Confidence level medium