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Common Name: Bowltube Iris
Iris macrosiphon is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.15 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised[
]. The roots are especially likely to be toxic[
Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people[
South-western N. America - California to Oregon.
Sunny grassy to woodland slopes below 1000 metres in California[
]. Sunny hillsides, meadows and roadsides[
Requires a well-drained lime-free soil[
]. Requires a moist soil, growing well by water[
]. Grows well in light shade.
Plants resent root disturbance, any moving is best done in early September.
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus, particularly other Pacific coast irises[
]. Iris macrosiphon hybridizes with I. chrysophylla, I. douglasiana, I. fernaldii, I. hartwegii, I. innominata, I. munzii, I. purdyi, I. tenax, and I. tenuissima[
Not all provenances of this species are hardy in Britain[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
The roots are used to hasten the birth of a child[
A fibre is obtained from the leaves. Traditionally the N. American Indians would take just the one outside fibre from each side of a leaf. This must have necessitated using a huge number of leaves. It makes a beautifully strong and pliable cord or rope[
]. The fibre can also be used for making paper[
] The leaves are harvested in summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin and are then soaked in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 3 hours. They make a light tan paper[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. 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 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.