An iris of the Sibericae group, in which the drooping, outer petals (which are known as the ‘falls’) are smooth and beardless. It is native to the East Himalaya, occurring in Sikkim and Bhutan, where it grows in alpine pastures and forest clearings, and where the fried leaves are used as fodder for horses and yak. The specific name commemorates Cyril Barron Clarke (1832–1906), a schools’ inspector in Bengal and authority on the Indian flora, who in retirement at Kew was one of the major contributors to the great seven-volume Flora of British India edited by Sir Joseph Hooker.
Hand coloured lithograph by W.H. Fitch, after a drawing by Matilda Smith, from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine
RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Scientific Name:Iris clarkei Baker ex Hook.f.
Collector:Ludlow, Francis & Sherriff, George
Origin:Outer China incl. Tibet:Xizang (Tibet) Aut. Reg., S:Bimbi La