Species Iris, 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)
Synonym:Chamaeiris foetida
Synonym:Iris foetida
Synonym:Spathula foetidissima
Synonym:Xiphion foetidissimum
Synonym:Xyridion foetidissimum
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Species (SPEC)


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

Medium Purple

Bloom Time:

Late Midseason (MLa)





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.