12. Iris crocea Jacquem. ex R.C. Foster in Contrib. Gray Herb. 114: 41. 1936; B. Mathew, l.c. 110; Bowley in SGBIS. Guide Species Irises: 175.
S. I. Ali & Brian Mathew
I. aurea Lindley in Bot. Reg. 33: t. 59. 1847, non Link, 1821, nec. Ref., 1830; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 273. 1892.
Plant up to 1.5 m in height. Leaves 60-90 ( 1.5-2.5 cm, ensiform. Inflorescence: terminal cluster at the tip and 3 lateral clusters on short erect branches. Flowers 12-18 cm in diameter, deep golden yellow. Blade of the falls 4.5-5.0 cm ( 2-2.5 cm; oblong, tapered, crimpled at margin, narrowing to 3-3.5 cm long haft. Standards 7.5 cm long, oblanceolate, waved at edges, style 3.8 cm; crest deltoid. Capsule 3.8-4.0 cm long, oblong, 6-angled, beaked.
Fl. Per.: June.
Type: Bot. Reg. 33: t. 59. 1847.
Kashmir Vishenag, 6000 ft., 17.6.1977, J.D.A. Stainton 7843 (K); Kashmir, Mudegaum, 10.6.1847, J.E. Winterbottom 387 (K); Kashmir, Mahgaum, 5000 ft., 28.6.1894, J. E. T. Aitchison 23 (K); B-8 near Srinagar, 13.6.1901, Duthie's Collector 25826 (K); Kashmir, Pir Panjal Div., Comm. Dec. 1937, P.N. Kohli 182 (RAW); Kashmir, Harwan near Srinagar, 5200 ft, canal banks and mounds, flowers canary yellow, 25.5.1941, Ludlow & Sherriff 8300 (BM).
Distribution: Kashmir, 1600-2000 m; particularly near cemetries (Bowley, l.c. 175).
According to B. Mathew (l.c. 110), this species is said to have originated in Kashmir. However, as it is associated with cemetries, it is not clear whether it is a truly wild plant in Kashmir or an introduction from places unknown. According to Bowley (l.c. 176) it is disturbing that it is only known to be growing wild in the valley of Kashmir, for, with so limited a location there must be some anxiety that it might disappear in the course of agriculture and other developments. I. crocea is a beautiful and stately plant, probably the most striking of all spurias. It thrives well in heavy loam in England (Bowley, l.c.).