Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Stinking Gladwyn, Stinking Iris
Iris foetidissima

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: foetidissima (fet-uh-DISS-ih-muh) (Info)

» View all varieties of Iris

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16 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Midseason (MLa)


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Awards (if applicable):
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Susan_C On Jan 4, 2014, Susan_C from Alameda, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

It's time someone gave this wonderful plant a little or a lot of love. Do you have dry shade? If you do, then this is the plant for you. It's tougher than nails and can withstand poor soil, drought and shade. Neglect it or treat it well, and it will reward you with evergreen handsome strappy foliage, subtly pretty flowers in spring and spectacular seedpods that hang on autumn through winter.

Neutral girlndocs On Mar 2, 2007, girlndocs from Tacoma, WA wrote:

The stinky smell resembles, I think, garlic. It's not very prominent on my plant unless I actually bruise or break the leaves.

I found my plant in the alley, chucked out by one of the neighbors. Don't know how long it lay out there but it responded very fast to being stuck in the soil, and even flowered that year. That's a tough plant!

I only wish the flowers were more conspicuous, I guess I'll have to find a place for this one closer to the walkway. They're pretty flowers and interesting, if not showy.

Neutral Baa On Oct 8, 2001, Baa wrote:

It always worries me when the botanical name means the smelliest.

A rhizomatous, perennial Iris from South and West Europe and North Africa.

Has sword like, evergreen, dark green leaves which is the source of the botanical name and have an unpleasent smell when crushed. Bears purple heavily tinged with yellow flowers which while 2-3 inches long are rather insignificant. The real attractive part of this plant are the seeds, the pods split open to reveal bright orange, yellow or occasionally white seeds which remain in place for some months.

Flowers May-July

Likes well drained soil in a sunny position although its not all that fussy really. Easy to grow and has good Autumn colour with the seeds.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alameda, California
Portland, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Leesburg, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Tacoma, Washington

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