Iris wilsonii, or Wilson Iris, or 黄花鸢尾 in Chinese, is a rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial. It is called Bäckiris in Sweden. It is part of the Iridaceae family of plants and part of the Sibirica series. Iris wilsonii is native to China.
It was named after Ernest Henry “Chinese” Wilson (1876-1930), a British plant collector who discovered Iris wilsonii in Hupeh (currently called Hubei), China. It was published by Charles Henry Wright in 1907. In its natural habitat, Iris wilsonii grows along streams and in meadows.
Iris wilsonii grows from thick rhizomes that create dense clumps as they grow. It has gray-green leaves long and slender. Iris wilsonii leaves are as long as the flowering stems but they droop, therefore, giving the appearance that the flowers are taller than the leaves. Iris wilsonii has bright yellow flowers that grow on hollow stems that could be as tall as 70cm or 25in. Each stem is unbranched and has two or three sword-like spathes.
The flowers are fragrant. Iris wilsonii flowers from the end of spring into summer, more precisely from May to July. Each flower has three large sepals plus three inner and smaller petals. The petal edges are sometimes wavy, the fall petal has brownish veins or marks. It has long stems and anthers. After flowering, Iris wilsonii produces seed pods with brown seeds inside.
How to grow Iris wilsonii:
Iris wilsonii is used to purify polluted urban water bodies. Grow Iris wilsonii in neutral to moist acid soil. However, if it is consistently exposed to moisture during the year there could be danger of fungal infections. Plant Iris wilsonii in humus-rich soil. Locate it in a sunny location or partial shade. Iris wilsonii tolerates the wind. However, for maximum flowering sunny location is important.
Propagate Iris wilsonii by division after flowers are done or by seed. The young plants could take two years to get established. Iris wilsonii can hybridize with other Sibericae series Irises. All parts of the Iris wilsonii is poisonous. Watch out for slugs, snails, and thrips or grey mold.