Sunday, 1 November 2009

Blue Flowers and Heavy Pods, But This Flower Won't Make You Sad



The Fan Iris, Neomarica caerulea, has fan-like leaves and gorgeous blue flowers. Just what kind of blue I won’t attempt to describe, suffice to note that Simon Goodwin says his photo (top) has been corrected and Simone Cottrell’s (bottom) has not. Simone's was taken with a flash.

Fan Iris grows naturally on coastal sand dunes in Brazil and Paraguay, and luxuriously in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. You can see it in flower now in one of the ‘traditional’ rectangular beds, between the First Farm and the Wollemi Pine in the roundabout.

This pretty plant is also called the Walking Iris because the mature seed pods are so heavy they droop to the ground, where the seeds can germinate without bothering to spread any further!

Another common name for Neomarica is the Apostle Plant. According to that sometimes quite reliable source of wisdom, Wikepedia, this name derives from the perception that the plant has to have 12 leaves before it flowers.

Whether Fan, Walking or Apostle, it’s an early garden arrival in Australia. According to Historic Houses Trust records, William Macarthur was growing Fan Iris at Camden in the 1840s and 1850s, and he provided material to Elizabeth Park in 1840. By comparison, it didn’t get to California until the end of the nineteenth century.

Nowadays it’s widely cultivated and an iris worth adding to your garden collection. There are a couple of other species in horticulture with varying proportions of white and blue in the flowers.

I'll leave you with a close-up by our third featured photographer, Stephen Bartlett. His picture, I understand, has been corrected for colour...

2 comments:

Term papers said...

Love the Pics of Blue Flowers and Heavy Pods. Your Blog Is really interesting and quite informative for readers. i really liked it.

Tim Entwisle said...

Thank you. It's fun writing it!