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The term "Japanese iris" encompasses three species of Irises cultivated in gardens or growing wild in Japan: hanashōbu (Iris ensata), kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) and ayame (Iris sanguinea). Of these three species, I. ensata is the one most commonly referred to as "Japanese iris" outside of Japan.

The bluish purple color of the flowers of the Japanese garden iris is an example of the copigmentation phenomenon.[1]

Hanashōbu at Meigetsu-in
Iris ensata (including Iris kaempferi

Hanashōbu[edit]

The Hanashōbu (ハナショウブ, 花菖蒲?, Iris ensata var. ensata, syn. I. ensata var. hortensis I. kaempferi) grows in the wet land and is the most extensively cultivated variety in Japanese gardens. According to the place where it was cultivated, it is classified into the Edo (Tokyo), Higo (Kumamoto Prefecture), Ise (Mie Prefecture), American (U.S.A.) and other series. It is extensively grown in gardens throughout the temperate zones. Several cultivars have been selected, of which 'Rose Queen'[2] and 'Variegata'[3] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Kakitsubata[edit]

The Kakitsubata (link to article in Japanese) (カキツバタ, 杜若?, Iris laevigata) grows in the semi-wet land and is less popular, but is also cultivated extensively.

It is a prefectural flower of Aichi Prefecture due to the famous tanka poem which is said to have been written in this area during the Heian period, as it appears in The Tales of Ise by Ariwara no Narihira (note that the beginning syllables are "ka-ki-tsu-ha (ba)-ta"):

Original text Pronunciation Meaning

から衣

きつゝなれにし

つましあれば

はるばるきぬる

たびをしぞ思

Karakoromo

Kitsutsu narenishi

Tsuma shi areba,

Harubaru kinuru

Tabi o shizo omou

I have come so far away on this trip this time and think of my wife that I left in Kyoto

Kakitsubata at Ōta Shrine, Kyoto, is a National Natural Treasure. It was already recorded in a tanka by Fujiwara Toshinari also in the Heian period:

Original text Pronunciation Meaning

神山や大田の沢のかきつばた

ふかきたのみは色に見ゆらむ

Kamiyama ya ōta no sawa no kakitsubata

Fukaki tanomi wa iro ni miyu ramu

Like the kakitsubata at Ōta Wetland, a God-sent heaven, my trust in you can be seen in the color of their flowers.

Ayame[edit]

The Ayame (アヤメ, 菖蒲, 文目?, Iris sanguinea) is the iris typically growing wild on the dry land in Japan.

Characteristics[edit]

Classification Color of flower Leaf Feature of flower Location Flowering time
Hanashōbu Red purple, purple, etc. Distinct artery Shows no net Wet land Early June - late June
Kakitsubata Blue, purple, white, etc. Small artery Shows no net In water or wet land mid-May - late May
Ayame Purple, rarely white Main artery not clear Shows net Dry land Early May - Mid-June

Note: Sweet flag, called Shōbu (ショウブ, 菖蒲) in Japanese, is a plant belonging to the family Acoraceae, genus Acorus, known for its fragrant roots, rather than its flowers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anthocyanin-flavone copigmentation in bluish purple flowers of Japanese garden iris (Iris ensata Thunb.) T. Yabuya, M. Nakamura, T. Iwashina, M. Yamaguchi and T. Takehara, EUPHYTICA, Volume 98, Number 3, 163-167, doi:10.1023/A:1003152813333
  2. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Iris ensata 'Rose Queen'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Iris ensata 'Variegata'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_iris — Please support Wikipedia.
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186 news items

 
San Jose Mercury News
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:25:55 -0700

Invasive ornamental plants do millions of dollars worth of damage to the environment each year. PlantRight, a group that is part of the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation organization, is working with nurseries and growers to voluntarily halt the ...

GoLocal Worcester

GoLocal Worcester
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 23:19:34 -0700

For height, a variegated Japanese iris will have dramatic foliage when it's done blooming. For a no-fuss, oxygenating marsh grass, pick out a red-tipped Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica). For an exotic look, try an Egyptian papyrus sedge for ...
 
Buffalo News
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:28:20 -0700

Western New York Iris Society will join the Daylily and Hosta Societies for the annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Colorful bearded iris of all sizes and easy-to-grow Siberians and Japanese ...

Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln Journal Star
Sat, 08 Aug 2015 21:35:07 -0700

Lambs ear, hostas, Japanese iris and the ground cover, ajuga, are continually being separated and replanted in vacant spots. Another work in progress is the edge of their lot which backs up to the street. The orange daylilies that originally lined it ...
 
The Seattle Times
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:25:02 -0700

Although these gorgeous irises are hardy to minus 30 degrees, they also are demanding to grow and won't perform well unless you provide the perfect conditions. The No. 1 requirement is moist soil and a sunny location. Japanese iris does best planted ...

SouthCoastToday.com (blog)

SouthCoastToday.com (blog)
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:16:05 -0700

One of my favorite water garden plants isn't a water lily or even a plant that's sold at most water gardening stores. But it thrives in the water and even survives the New England winter submerged in my pond. It's Japanese iris (Iris ensata) — a tall ...

OregonLive.com

OregonLive.com
Sun, 24 May 2015 08:10:12 -0700

Touring the iris capital of the world: Six hundred visiting members of the American Iris Society toured six gardens in the Willamette Valley during its once-a-decade visit here, which coincides with the group's annual convention, which is May 18-23 ...

Camas Washougal Post Record

Camas Washougal Post Record
Tue, 26 May 2015 11:16:34 -0700

The farm, owned by Chad Harris and Dale Grams, is the site of a National Display Garden of Japanese iris. It is also one of seven in the United States that produce the rare Aspen water iris. Located six miles east of Washougal, a dazzling array of ...
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