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Iris foetidissima
@ Juniper Level Botanic Gdn, NC

Iris foetidissima

Coral Fruit Iris

Item #: 8676

Zones: 6a to 9b, at least

Height: 24" tall

Culture: Part Sun to Shade

Origin: Northern Africa, Southwest Europe

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L)

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Here's an oddball if there ever was one. Iris foetidissima, native from England west to Greece, can be found in open woodlands, where the 2' tall clumps of dark green upright evergreen foliage provide a delightful structural element in the winter garden. The small tan and lavender flowers are uglier than the cast of a zombie movie and anyone who says otherwise needs new glasses. The specific epithet indicates stinking...reportedly the leaves smell of roast beef...yeah, right...and I look like Kevin Costner. The beauty of Iris foetidissima is in the seedheads, which split open in mid-October to reveal bright red fruits. Slightly moist soils are best. Iris foetidissima was named as one of the top 200 plants of the last 200 years by the Royal Horticultural Society...quite an honor.

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