(Gemmingia Ciminensis; Pardanthus Chinensis of Gray) Iris
Flowers - Deep orange color, speckled irregularly with crimson
and purple within (Pardos = leopard; anthos = flower); borne in
terminal, forked clusters. Perianth of 6 oblong, petal-like,
spreading divisions; 6 stamens with linear anthers; style
above, with 3 branches. Stem: 1 1/2 to 4 ft. tall,
leafy. Leaves: Like the iris; erect, folded blades, 8 to 10 in.
long. Fruit: Resembling a blackberry; an erect mass of round,
black, fleshy seeds, at first concealed in a fig-shaped capsule,
whose 3 valves curve backward, and finally drop off.
Preferred habitat - Roadsides and hills.
Flowering Season - June-July.
Distribution - Connecticut to Georgia, westward to Indiana and
How many beautiful foreign flowers, commonly grown in our gardens
here, might soon become naturalized Americans were we only
generous enough to lift a few plants, scatter a few seeds over
our fences into the fields and roadsides - to raise the bars of
their prison, as it were, and let them free! Many have run away,
to be sure. Once across the wide Atlantic, or wider Pacific,
their passage paid (not sneaking in among the ballast like the
more fortunate weeds), some are doomed to stay in prim, rigidly
cultivated flower beds forever; others, only until a chance to
bolt for freedom presents itself, and away they go. Lucky are
they if every flower they produce is not picked before a single
seed can be set.
This blackberry lily of gorgeous hue originally came from China.
Escaping from gardens here and there, it was first reported as a
wild flower at East Rock, Connecticut; other groups of vagabonds
were met marching along the roadsides on Long Island; near
Suffern, New York; then farther southward and westward, until it
has already attained a very respectable range. Every plant has
some good device for sending its offspring away from home to
found new colonies, if man would but let it alone. Better still,
give the eager travelers a lift!
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