Iris hookeriana Foster, Gard. Chron. 1887(1): 611 1887. (Syn: Iris gilgitensis Baker ex Hook.f.; Iris kemaonensis var. caulescens Baker);
Afghanistan to W. Himalaya as per WCSP;
I. kemoanensis having perianth tube 5-7 cm long, and I. hookeriana less than 2.5 cm, in former the perianth tube almost twice as long as spathe and in Hookeriana hardly emerging from spathe.
Specimens are often found identified under I. kemaonensis. I had studied more than two hundred specimens of I. kumaonensis (spellings used earlier) in Calcutta, Dehradun, Lucknow and other Herbaria and found more than 95 per cent specimens actually belonging to I. hookeriana back in 1972-73. 


Request Plant ID 0002 Kinnaur Chitkul:
Chitkul, Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh

I think this is Iris versicolor.

I hope Iris kemaonensis

It has to be Iris kemaonensis

Definitely not Iris kemaonensis. It is Iris hookeriana

The two species are most confused, although very distinct, with I. kemoanensis having perianth tube 5-7 cm long, and I. hookeriana less than 2.5 cm, in former the perianth tube almost twice as long as spathe:
and in Hookeriana hardly emerging from spathe
1n 1970 to 1973 I spent roughly three months in all major herbaria of India including Calcutta, Lucknow, DehraDun, Jammu, Kashmir, etc and studies more than 600 specimens in these herbaria belonging to these two species and ultimately discovered that nearly 90 per cent or more specimens in these herbaria are wrongly identified. Iris kemanensis does not grow west of Kumaon, and definitely not in Himachal pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Don’t be thus surprised if you find most books including Flora of British India recording distribution of I. kemoanensis from Kashmir Arunachal PRADESH.
There is monograph on this genus by Dykes. The first plate is from that only.


Iris ID:
I fail to segregate these Irises. Iris hookeriana or Iris kemaonensis ??????
Please suggest.
Pics taken at Thajwas, Sonamarg ( Kashmir), 3200 m.

All Iris hookeriana without any doubt. The perianth tube is barely projecting from spathe. Please see the difference, I am sending links of I. kemaonensis

Iris hookeriana from Kashmir :
Iris hookeriana Foster from Kashmir, one of the most common but under reported species of Western Himalayas in subalpine and alpine zone.

Specimens are often found identified under I. kemaonensis. I had studied more than two hundred specimens of I. kumaonensis (spellings used earlier) in Calcutta, Dehradun, Lucknow and other Herbaria and found more than 95 per cent specimens actually belonging to I. hookeriana back in 1972-73.
The two species are distinguished as Under:
I. hookeriana: Flowers on distinct 5-15 (30) cm long peduncle; peduncle 2-fld; bracts almost covering corolla tube; corolla tube (hypanthium) 2-3 cm long; Beard white
I. kemaonensis: Flowers sessile, peduncle absent or very short; 1-fld, flowers appearing almost from ground. bracts covering only base of corolla tube; corolla tube 5-7.5 cm long; beard yellow-orange tipped.
Incidently there is another species named after Hooker, I. hookeri Penny ex G. Don. Although code does not ban such names, it is recommended to the authors not to name a species within a genus after the same person/place.

Thanks a lot for the clarifications. Do you think, I hookeriana and I. kemaonensis may occur in the same locality? If yes, where. What exactly is the distribution range of I. hookeriana?

Although both species have been reported from Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas, but most herbaria (incl. DD, LUCK, CAL) have most specimens labelled as I. kemoanensis. I had checked more than 500 hundred sprecimens in 1972-73 in these herbaria and found that more than 90 per cent specimens were wrongly identified. I could confirm only a few specimens around Kumaon to be really belonging to I. kemoanensis. I wish the members who take photographs of these two species focus on stem legth and length of perianth tube, which are very different in two species.

In my nest visit I will try to find out

Iris hookeriana ?? at enroute Drass J&K, – July-PKA-11 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (4)

Seen this Iris sp. enroute Drass (J&K) at Altitude of approx: 11000ft.
Could this be Iris hookeriana ??
Date/Time: 16-06-2016 / 01:30PM

I think matches with images at Iris hookeriana

Iris species for ID ABAUG2016/19 : 7 posts by 3 authors. 6 images.

This iris was perhaps the highlight of an otherwise very wet and grey day at 2950m just above Triund. I found only a single flower even though there were a few plants on the slope. I can’t say whether the season is coming or is already gone for these. The flower was aromatic and of a deep purple. Could be I. kemaonensis or I. milesii. Please advise.
Above Triund, HP
06 August 2016.

Is it not Iris hookeriana. beautiful pictures

Thank you … It does appear closer to I. hookeriana. But it is also close to I. kemaonensis. I am not familiar with this family and do not know what exactly separates the two.

I think if you check in efi site, you may find something

Thank you … I was in the process of doing so. Col. Collett says I. kumaonensis [sic.] has stems ‘4-12 in, usually tufted’ and does not include I. hookeriana in his book. I am including comparative photos from Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton’s Flowers of the Himalaya to show my confusion.
… comment of efi clarifies the confusion. According to his distinction between the two species, my sample would be I. hookeriana as … has suggested.


Following advice from …, it has been decided that members will be able to view the images I submit better, if I re-size them as ‘Large Documents’ rather than compress, as I was doing previously.
As a ‘Britisher’ I am marking the festive period in the UK by sending images of selected plants from: Part I Kashmir; Part II Ladakh; Part III Himachal Pradesh; Part IV Nepal to celebrate the mountain flora of the Himalaya – and, hopefully, inspire members to take LOTS of photos
of Himalayan plants during 2017.  Especially, as in my present circumstances, I cannot afford to travel to the Himalaya to take any more shots myself!
See attached images taken on Khelanmarg above Gulmarg on my last visit to Kashmir a few years ago.
This Iris will be well known to those who visit the mountains of Kashmir between April and July (though it was into August when the attached pictures were snapped – flowering was several weeks behind that year).
I trust my photos will bring back pleasant memories.  It was my first time back in Kashmir for more than 20 years.
There has been long-standing confusion between Iris hookeriana and Iris kemaonensis. I shall comment more about this another time.
Stewart recorded this as the common purple Iris of alpine meadows in Kashmir – gregarious and spreading as it is left alone by grazing animals (as is Euphorbia wallichii).
This Iris honours Hooker, a major contributor to knowledge of Indian flora.
May I also take this opportunity of acknowledging .. and all those who contribute to eFI. This project seems to me to very much be in line with the admirable sentiment’s of India’s first Prime Minister inscribed
The world would be a better place if every nation and individual citizen of the world adopted such an approach…..

Another beautiful set of images. I have not seen it in nature here in Uttarakhand. I. kemaonensis is common here and we have differentiated these two species in efi.


I have just come across a letter from the late Mary Briggs past Secretary of what is now the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland.
I met Mary on her frequent visits to the main herbarium of the Natural History Museum in London. She had undertaken a couple of treks in Kashmir and was interested in plants from the region (and many others parts of the world having led and incredible number of botanical tours for plant enthusiasts).  Arthur Chater (joint author of ‘An Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal’) kindly introduced us.   The letter represented comments after she had read my ‘Report on the Kashmir Botanical Expedition, 1983’.
I had described Iris hookeriana (based on Stewart) as “the common purple Iris of alpine meadows” in Kashmir.
Mary stated that a large number of flowering clumps that we saw were in fact blue and a few brown-flowered clumps were seen too. By the latter she would have mean genuinely brown, rather than just flowers which “gone over”.
A widespread problem with describing flower colour is that few have access to a standard colour chart and describe colours differently.  I am partially red-green colour blind and no doubt see some colours differently to others.  In the days of slide photography, I would often barely see pinks/reds in some images.
Another serious difficulty arises from many pressed specimens in herbaria having few IF ANY accompanying field notes.   This is a MAJOR problem in Indian herbaria as many 19th century specimens collected during the days of the British do not have flower colour on the labels.   Too many Indian botanists have also
failed to note flower colour in specimens collected since Indian Independence.
Flower colour OFTEN changes during the drying process.  One is supposed to make a note in field notes ANYTHING that cannot be told from the specimen after drying and pressing.
One of the advantages, provided the images are good quality and close-up, of digital photography is that one can see the LIVE/FRESH flowers – rather than having to guess on the colour based on a pressed specimen.
Flowers of Himalaya describe the flowers of this species as “purple blotched”.
Please note it was not a spelling/ typing/ transcription error that this species was Iris hookerana, rather than Iris hookeriana.
At that time there was a debate on the correct Latin treatment of the specific ephiphet (name) of this Iris.
Another consideration is that pressing Iris flowers well is not easy. The petals need spreading out with a flower dissected/ have its parts separated and then dried SEPARATELY, otherwise, if pressed in the normal way they can easily shrivel up and look dreadful/be of limited use.

PLANT68 JUN 09 – indiantreepix | Google Groups : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)

I had been to Lahaul and Spiti valley (Himachal) between 20th and 30th Jun 2009. It was a bright summer and had plenty of sighting opportunities of plants, birds and some mammals.
This one was shot near Rohtang pass Alt. 3900 m.
Identification of Himalayan flora is very difficult, Though I have purchased Flowers of Himalaya by Polunin and Stainton. I will require help from members.
I think this plant is Iris kemaonensis
Family: Iridaceae

You are right,,, It is ” Iris kemaonensis”
Please check…

May be Iris hookeriana as per images & keys herein.

Plz help in ID of this Iris collected from DUKSUM (2700 m) in Kashmir.
Sorry for poor quality of pics.

Iris hookeriana ?? but not sure

Perianth tube should help further.

Appears close to images at Iris hookeriana Foster


NSD – 5, July-2018, Iris kemaonensis : 5 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)

Common Name: KUMAON IRIS
Botanical Name: Iris kemaonensis 
Family : Iridaceae 
Rohtang pass, Himachal Pradesh, India
13 June 2018

I think Iris hookeriana as per keys and details herein.

Iris hookeriana without any doubt.


Iris hookeriana from Khillenmarg Kashmir-GS05012022-1: 10 high res. images.
Iris hookeriana as clarified in another post is often confused but very distinct from Iris kemaonensis as under:

1. I. hookeriana: aerial stems distinct longer than 10 cm; perianth tube less than 2 cm long.
2. I. kemaonensis: Aerial stems highly reduced, not longer than 10 cm (longer stemed I. kemaonensis var. caulescens Baker is now considered as synonym of I. hookeriana); perianth tube 5-8 cm long.
Sharing high resolution images from Khillenmarg, Kashmir, alt. 3100 m, 19-6-2010.

Please notice that elongated structure (stem) is below the spathe., where as portion above the spathe (perianth tube) is shorter

Yes sir it is I.hookeriana