Siberian Iris Named Czech Plant of the Year for 2024

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The prestigious title of Plant of the Year 2024 has been awarded to the Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) by the Czech Botanical Society. This recognition aims to spotlight endangered and captivating species among Czech flora, shedding light on their biology and the importance of their preservation.

The Siberian iris is naturally found in regions stretching from Central Europe to Lake Baikal, thriving in damp meadows and intermittently wet soils. Experts note its adaptability to training areas within certain military zones. Unfortunately, changes in landscapes have led to the decline of its populations in numerous areas. Factors such as stream regulation, land drainage, meadow management practices like frequent mowing, and overgrowth by trees have contributed to this decline.

Beyond its natural habitat, the Siberian iris has been cultivated for ornamental purposes since the 17th century, adding a touch of elegance to gardens. However, the Botanical Society highlights an interesting twist: the similar-looking Iris sanguinea, also referred to as Siberian iris, is often confused with its counterpart. Notably, the presence of the blood iris was rediscovered in 2021 through a comprehensive review of photographs on the website by a foreign specialist. Czech botanists had overlooked this species for years, mistaking it for the Siberian iris. The revelation emphasizes the need for accurate identification and conservation efforts for both captivating iris varieties.

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