Iris ferdowsii, a threatened and endangered Iranian iris

N. Safari, A. Tehranifar, M. Kharrazi
Iran is one of the diversity centers of the Iris genus for which more than 20 species and subspecies, with different colors and shapes, have been reported. Iris ferdowsii Joharchi & Memariani, sp. is the last species of Iris discovered in Iran. It is named after the famous Iranian poet, the creator of the Shahnameh, Hakim Abolqasem Ferdowsi. The distribution of this species is limited to the gentle rocky slopes and mountain steppes of small parts of northeastern Iran (Hezar Masjed Mountains). Unfortunately, due to the very small populations of this species (less than 300 in the studied area), and factors such as land use change, overgrazing, road construction and climate change, the survival of this newly discovered species is in danger. The species is known as one of the most beautiful Iris in Iran and in the world due to its blue-leaning purple flowers that appear in spring. Hence, it has a high potential to be introduced as a new ornamental plant. The study of the phenological growth stages of Iris ferdowsii in wild habitat showed that changes in temperature and precipitation directly affect the growth traits of the plant, such as plant height, the quality of flowers and the number of flowers. Investigating different propagation methods such as seed germination and tissue culture is being done, and promising results have been observed so far. Undoubtedly, in situ and ex situ conservation is necessary to preserve the remaining plant population. Identifying and introducing new plant species that have ornamental value, in addition to preservation, can increase researchers’ access to new genetic resources for plant breeding programs. Iris ferdowsii species is in a worrying condition and if it is not protected, there is a possibility of its destruction. We hope that the introduction of this new plant species as ornamental will be effective in preserving it.
Safari, N., Tehranifar, A. and Kharrazi, M. (2023). Iris ferdowsii, a threatened and endangered Iranian iris. Acta Hortic. 1383, 65-72
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1383.7
conservation, endemic, native plants, new plants, ornamental plants

Acta Horticulturae