5. Iris decora Wall., Pl. As. Rar. 1: 77. t. 86. 1829; R.R. Stewart, l.c. 63. 1972; B. Mathew, Iris: 133. 1981; C. Innes in SGBIS, Guide Species Irises: 217. 1997. (Fig. 2, A-B).
S. I. Ali & Brian Mathew
Iris nepalensis D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nep.: 54. 1825; non Wallich ex Lindley (1824): Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 273. 1892; Blatter, Beaut. Fl. Kashm. 2: 167. 1928.
Roots swollen tuber-like, white fleshy as well as fibrous roots attached to flat rhizome, densely covered by remains of old leaves. Leaves 10-45 cm long, 2-5 mm wide, strongly ribbed. Peduncle (stem) 10-30 cm tall, often branched. Bracts slender, acuminate, keeled, generally 2-flowered. Pedicel c. 2.5 cm long. Flower 4.0-5.0 cm long in diameter, pale bluish-lavender to deep reddish purple. Falls c. 5 cm long, c. 2.5 cm wide, blade broadly lanceolate; haft with deeper reddish purple veins and a central ridge which is brownish yellow at base, yellowish to pale mauvish-white on blade; standards narrowly lanceolate, bent outwards and downwards like falls; tube 2.5-6.0 cm long. Filaments white slightly violet tinged, anthers cream coloured, violet-tinged at the base. Ovary 3-sided, each side slightly concave. Styles broadly lobed, pale-violet, toothed at edges, crest triangular erect, exceeding falls and standard, whitish or yellowish orange at tips, stigma deeply bilobed. Capsule 2.5-3.5 cm long, trigonal, grooved at sides, tip pointed. Seeds dark brown small, round, aril as large or larger than seed.
Fl. Per.: May-July.Vern.: Chiluchi, Sosan, Shoti, Chalnundar
Type: 'Habitat in Napaliae monte Ekdanta et ad Bempedi', Wallich, Pl. Asiat. Rar. 1: 77. t.86. 1829.
In K-W there is no specimen labelled as Iris decora Wall. There is a specimen of I. sulcata Wall. (5049) but this cannot be the Type of I. decora Wall. Under these circumstances, the illustration referred to above is proposed as the Type. We have not seen any specimen of this taxon from Pakistan or Kashmir. It has been reported from Kaghan and Kashmir by R.R. Stewart (l.c.) and from Kashmir by B. Mathew (l.c.) and C. Innes (l.c.).
Distribution: Pakistan (Kaghan valley), Kashmir, India (Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal, Meghalaya), through Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan to China (Yunnan, Szechuan), 1000-4300 m.
Roots are considered as diuretic, aperient and deobstruent, used in bilious obstructions and externally applied to small sores and pimples (Kirtikar & Basu, Ind. Med. Plants (Vth. Rep. Ed.). 4: 2460. 1991.