Gardeners Chronicle 25: 389 (Nov 25, 1899)

IRIS SOFARANA, n. sp.
M. Foster, Shelford, November 11, 1899.

THIS new Oncocyclus Iris was collected for Messrs. Van Tubergen of Haarlem, on the Lebanon, near Ain Sofar, at a considerable altitude. A large single flower, with very long, narrow spathe-valves, is borne on a scape about 10 inches high. The nearly elliptical fell, convex laterally, is of a dark purple, almost black colour, brought about by very thickset, reticulate, blotched veins of very dark purple colour on a creamy-white ground, very little of which, however, is visible. Over the claw, and running over the hinder part of the blade is a straggling beard of scattered, long, dark purple hairs; in front of these the netted veins are fused together into a very indistinct "signal." Standard almost orbicular, with a groundwork nearly white, marked with thin, dark purple veins, most conspicuous near the margin, interspersed all over with dark purple dote. The dots are scattered, and the veins thin, so that the whole surface in much lighter in colour than that of the fall. About a dozen dark purple, almost black, long hairs are scattered over the claw. The styles, placed horizontally, are large, broad, concave, dark purple, almost black, with large quadrate, crenate, not serrate crests, marked with branching blotched purple vein, on a yellow ground. The ovary, with a short tube, is of the ordinary Oncocyclus type. The rhizome is large and compact, and the leaves relatively broad, 10 inches by nearly 1 inch, so broad as to seem, when young, those of an ordinary bearded Iris.

It was sent to Messrs. Van Tubergen as a variety of I. Lorteti, but from this it is widely different. It comes nearest to I. Sari, but differs from this in the form of the segments in their venation and colour. It is a handsome Iris, well worth cultivating. The illustration (fig. 125, p. 391) is a little smaller than the flower itself.