Water Iris
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Water Iris
P Native Photo: Kiran Keithellakpam
Common name: Water Iris, Japanese iris, Rabbit-ear iris, Shallow-flowered iris • Manipuri: ꯀꯣꯝꯕꯤꯔꯩ Kombirei
Botanical name: Iris laevigata    Family: Iridaceae (Iris family)
Synonyms: Iris versicolor Thunb., Iris albopurpurea, Iris gmelinii

Water Iris, as the name suggests, is a plant which grows on marshy land, and on the banks of ponds and streams. It is famous in Manipur by the name Kombirei. Flowers are dark blue or violet, 9-10 cm in diameter; flower-stalk 1.5-3.5 cm. Flower tube is about 2 cm long; outer tepals obovate or elliptic, with a central, white or yellow zone, limb 7.5-9 x 4-4.5 cm; inner tepals erect, inverted-lanceshaped, 5-6.5 x 0.8-1.5 cm. Stamens are about 3 cm; anthers white. Ovary about 2 cm x 5-7 mm. Style branches are 5-6 x about 1.2 cm; stigmas 2-lobed. Flowering stems are 22-60 cm, solid; spathes 3-5, very unequal, 6-8 x 1-1.5 cm, 2-4-flowered, proximal ones shorter, tip usually pointed, distal ones longer, tip usually blunt. Leaves grayish green, sword-shaped or broadly linear, 40-100 x 0.8-1.5 cm, midvein absent, base surrounded by maroon-brown fibers. Rhizomes are creeping, thick, about 1 cm in diameter. Capsule is ellipsoid-cylindric, 6.5-7 x 2--2.5 cm, tip not beaked. Seeds are brown, semiround, flat, about 6.5 × 5 mm. Water Iris is found in S. Siberia, Japan to South China, at altitudes of 400-600 m. It is also found in Manipur, and is a popular flower mentioned in folktales and folk songs. Flowering: April-June.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Lamphelpat, Imphal, Manipur.

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