Gladdon – Iris foetidissima

Gladdon (Iris foetidissima) is also known as Stinking Iris. It is a medium height plant that is easily identifiable with its Iris foliage and flower.
It is typically a purple / grey colour with a hint of brown or / dark yellow and is seen flowering throughout June and July. Although this iris does not have a very attractive name, it is due to the scent that it produces if the plant becomes damged / crushed. The smell has been described as “beefy” but it is not a pleasant “beefy” odour.

Other than this distinctive smell that the plant produces, another feature is the large pods of seeds that are produced during the autumn, these then split to reveal what looks like small, bright orange coloured berries. It thrives on calcareous soils but can tolerate both dry and shady conditions but is often found along hedge rows and woodland edges. On occasions, it can also be ound around costal areas in and around scrub land.

Although the flowers themselves are said to be dull and uninteresting, due to their grey / blue appearance it is the seed pods that are the main attraction, as they are somtimed used in floral arrangements due to their vibrant colour which turns to a scarlet red in the autumn and remain attached to the plant throughout the winter. These seeds can be around 5 – 8 cm in lengh.

Height: 40 -70cm
Flowering Time: June to July
Preferred Conditions: Grows well in shady woodland, hedgerows and prefers dampish areas with neutral soil but does not do well in acidic soil.

Gladdon - Iris foetidissima