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 pumila L.

Fully hardy rhizomatous dwarf bearded iris with grey-green leaves, to 15cm long, and very short, unbranched stems bearing usually solitary, scented, blue, purple or yellow flowers, to 5cm across, with yellow or blue beards, in spring.  To 15cm.  There are a very large number of named garden forms.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This beautiful little plant is a native of Hungary: it has long been known in our gardens, having been cultivated by Parkinson.’  [LBC no.1574/1829]. 

‘Gardeners in former days, not having that profusion of plants to attend to and cultivate, which we can at present boast, appear to have been more solicitous in increasing generally the varieties of the several species;  accordingly we find in the Paradisus terrestris of the venerable Parkinson, no less than six varieties of this plant, most of which are now strangers to the Nursery Gardens.  We may observe, that varieties in general not being so strong as the original plant, are consequently much sooner lost.’  [BM t.1261/1810].  The variety figured is violacea with a purple flower.  The variety lutea is figured in BM t.1209/1809 and violacea in BM t.1261/1810.

History at Camden Park

Iris pumila is only listed in the 1843 catalogue.


Iris pumila Griseb. (1843) = Iris rubro-marginata Baker

Iris pumila Vill. (1787) = Iris lutescens Lam. which see, synonym Iris chamaeiris Bertol.

Published Nov 05, 2009 - 05:06 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 05:20 PM

Figured is a dwarf bearded iris with short sword-shaped leaves purple flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.1261, 1810.

Iris pumila L. | BM t.1261/1810 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Eastern Europe

  • Iris taurica Lodd. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Iris pumila 

Confidence level high