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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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105 news items

 
Wicked Local Hanover
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:41:15 -0800

The waning leaves of hostas, Siberian and Japanese iris, and daylilies are the next to be trimmed and raked, as these are favorite winter destinations for destructive voles. Since these rodents prefer the cover of leaves and decaying foliage to hide ...
 
The Seattle Times
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:18:45 -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 ...
 
Hartford Courant
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:35:44 -0700

Allow leaves to accumulate for some winter protection. Remove any dead or dying foliage from German iris beds, as iris borers can overwinter in it. Cut back foliage and any remaining seedheads from Siberian or Japanese iris beds. This makes for less ...
 
Monroe News Star
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:03:45 -0700

The most common iris types growing in Louisiana landscapes are the bearded iris (Iris germanica), Japanese iris (Iris ensata), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) and the Louisiana iris (Iris spp.). Bearded iris is a hardy, long-lived perennial that require ...
 
Chaffee County Times
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:34:08 -0700

"Japanese Iris" stitched by Coke Black. MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR. NAME Hiroko (Coke) Black. POSITION City Market cashier for 12 years. AGE 67. FAMILY Husband, Jim, daughter Tomi of Tomi's Hair Salon, son, Jimmy (a chef in Kansas City), son Charlie, ...

San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Mercury News
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:42:54 -0700

Alternatives: Canna species, Japanese iris, laevigata iris. Green fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). Alternatives: Oriental fountaingrass, Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum,' 'Skyrocket,' 'Fireworks' and 'Fairy Tails,' purple fountaingrass, California ...
 
San Jose Mercury News
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:04:39 -0700

Japanese iris wants quite a bit of water, and is sometimes grown in garden ponds. The others, like most other rhizomatous iris, do not need much water once established. Dutch iris grows from bulbs that do not multiply, and may not even bloom after the ...
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