Friday, May 8, 2009

Iris speculatrix

Genus Iris (Iridaceae)
A genus with about 200-300 species which is widely distributed in the north temperate region. They inhabit a variety of habitats ranging from montane areas, grassy slopes to riverbanks. Iris has a very old history in horticulture as all shows spectacular flowers.

Iris speculatrix is also known as Hong Kong Iris as this species was firstly discovered on Hong Kong Island around a century ago. It is found that this species is actually distributed widely in South China after more detailed surveys were done in the mainland. I. speculatrix is indeed rare in Hong Kong which is listed as rare and precious plant species in Hong Kong. It is also protected under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap. 96) from being over-collected for ornamental uses.