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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

05 July, 2016

Stinking Iris: the roast beef plant

The stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) seems to be bit of an unfair name for such a lovely flower which is common in woods, scrub and hedgerows, especially near the Dorset coast, in mid-summer. It is one of two iris species native to Britain, the other being the yellow iris. 
This plant is also known as the roast beef plant as, when the leaves and stem are crushed, it gives off the scent of fresh meat. It is thought the smell attracts flies and the flies help with the pollination process. This odour is also where the stink comes from in stinking iris of course.
In the autumn these flower heads will be transformed and will have three distinctive green pods and each will split to reveal a line of bright red berries; you get good value from the stinking iris, attractive flowers and attractive seed heads and so it does occur as in gardens as well as in usual habitats.
Stinking Iris: the roast beef plant