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Common Name: Stinking Gladwin
Iris foetidissima is a Evergreen Perennial up to 1.00 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
The roots of this plant are toxic to grazing mammals[
Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people[
Western Europe, including Britain, from France south and east to N. Africa, Italy and Greece.
Open woods, hedgebanks and shady places, usually on calcareous soils[
]. It is often also found on sea cliffs[
An easily grown and very tolerant plant, it succeeds in most positions in any good soil in sun or partial shade[
]. Succeeds in dense shade. Prefers a moist soil[
] but succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant[
]. Thrives in a bog garden[
]. Requires a well-drained soil containing some lime[
] and succeeds on pure chalk[
]. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect and can survive dense weed competition[
The evergreen leaves are not very hardy, being killed back by cold winds around -15°c[
], though the rootstock is much hardier and the plant soon recovers in spring.
A good plant for woodland edges[
]. Plants often self-sow[
There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value[
The crushed leaves emit a strong odour which, at a distance, resembles hot roast beef[
]. On closer acquaintance the scent becomes disagreeable[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
Stinking gladwin has a long history of medicinal use, though it can be rather strong in its action and so is little used nowadays[
]. The root is anodyne, antispasmodic and cathartic[
]. A decoction of the roots acts as a strong purge, it has also been used as an emmenagogue and for cleaning eruptions[
]. The powdered or infused dried root is beneficial in the treatment of fainting, nervous complaints and to relieve pains and cramps[
The plant has been used as a cure for ringworm[
A good ground cover plant, succeeding in dense shade and in dry soils[
]. Rather slow to spread though, needing weeding for the first year or two[
]. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame, it may take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
Division, best done in July after flowering. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.