Milky Iris
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Milky Iris
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Milky Iris • Ladakhi: ཏེསམམེནཏོཀ Tesmamentok
Botanical name: Iris lactea    Family: Iridaceae (Iris family)
Synonyms: Eremiris lactea

Milky Iris is a beautiful wildflower commonly found in Kashmir and Ladakh. Rhizomes are sheathed with reddish purple fibers, creeping, thick. Leaves arise from the base, grayish green, linear, 14-70 cm long, 3-7 mm wide, tough. Flowering stems are 3-30 cm long, spathes green, lanceshaped, 4.5-10 x 0.8-1.6 cm, 2--4-flowered, tip long-pointed. Flowers are pale violet, or partly milky white or yellow, 5-7.5 cm across. Flower-stalks are 4-7 cm long. Flower-tube is very short, about 3 mm. Outer segments are oblanceolate, 4.5-6.5 x 0.8-1.2 cm, tip blunt or mucronate. Inner segments are erect, narrowly oblanceolate, 4.2-4.5 cm x 5-7 mm. Stamens are 2.5-3.2 cm, anthers yellow. Ovary is narrowly fusiform, very long, 3-4.5 cm, grooved. Capsule are narrowly cylindric, 6.5-7.5 x 1-1.4 cm, 6-ribbed, tip shortly beaked. Fruiting stalks are unequal, 4-10 cm. Seeds are maroon-brown, pyriform. Milky Iris is found in Afghanistan, Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia and China, at altitudes of 1500. Flowering: April-June.
Medicinal uses: Roots are reputed to have medicinal properties. Leaves are used as fodder and for thatching, matting and basket work. Flowers contain anthocyanin pigment

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Leh, Ladakh.
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