Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Monocots
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Terrestrial. A plant of coastal and lowland habitats (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). A plant of low forest, scrub and forest margin communities, also found in waste places (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).
Clump-forming perennial to 80 cm. Rhizomes red-brown, up to 15 mm diameter. Leaves leathery, dark greed, broad, sword shaped, 15-25 mm x 60-100 cm, foul smelling when crushed. Flowering stem 60-80 cm, erect. Flowers up to 10 cm diameter, dull yellow with greenish-brown markings (Occasionally brownish-purple). Seed capsule green, 3-sided, 5 cm long, splitting issuing many scarlet round seeds, 5 mm diameter.
The leaves have an unpleasant odour when crushed and this is useful in separating I. foetidissima from other Iris species. It can also be recognised by the drab flowers and conspicuous scarlet seeds exposed in the persistent capsule.
Perennial, reproduces by seed and vegetativeily through rhizomatous resprouting (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Seed is dispersed by birds and water(Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).
Europe & N Afr
Reason for introduction
The plant prefers high rainfall and is highly tolerant of shade (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). After grazing the plant resprouts from the rhizome (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Requires medium soil fertility (Atkinson 1997).
iris: From the Greek iris ‘rainbow’, presumably in reference to the many colours of the flowers (Johnson and Smith, 1986).
foetidissima: Vile smelling
The orange seed (which can be seen when the fruits open) are poisonous.
References and further reading
Johnson, A. T. and Smith, H. A (1986). Plant Names Simplified: Their pronunciation, derivation and meaning. Landsman Bookshop Ltd: Buckenhill, UK.