by Stephen Mifsud
   29 Sep 2020      ()
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Iris xiphium   (Spanish Iris)

Iris xiphium   (IRIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Nomenclature and Basic Information Images
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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Iris xiphium retrieved from on 2020-Sep-29

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Iris xiphium L.
Published in L., Sp. Pl. 40 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Xiphion vulgare Mill.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Iridaceae Juss. (The Iris Family)
23 species from the Iridaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Spanish Iris

Maltese name(s) :

Fjurduliż tal-ġonna

Status for Malta :

Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 and spreads to form established, non-invasive populations. It may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE (bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc.)
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:

Violet or Blue

Remarks :

Found once at Majjiesa area where it is still extant. Probably originating from old cultivation and not considered native.

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Abandoned derelict fields

Botanical Description:

Plant with leaves present through the winter. Bulb ovoid, invested by thin, membranous leaf-bases. Stem 25-50(-80) cm. Lower leaves 20-70 cm x (1-) 3-5 mm, glaucous, the upper shorter and wider and merging gradually into the spathes. Flowers 1(-2), usually violet, with a yellow or orange centre to the falls, rarely mostly yellow; pedicels up to 120 mm; spathes 60-100 mm, herbaceous. Hypanthial tube 1-3 mm. Falls 45-65 x 18-25 mm, glabrous; limb suborbicular; claw 7-10 mm wide, narrowly oblong, distinctly longer than the limb, concealed by the style-branches. Standards 45-65 x 15-20 mm, oblanceolate. Seeds compressed, semicircular, yellowish-brown. Flowering in early (rarely mid-) summer.

Chromosome number:


Distributional range:

S.W. Europe, extending eastwards to 13° 30' E. in W.C. Italy.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

Corse, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

Ag Co Ga Hs It Lu Ma Sa Tn [Cy]

Images (6 images)
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-0.
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-1.
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-2.
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-3.
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-4.
   Iris xiphium   -   Image Code: IRSXI-5.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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