Flower of the month – February : Southern Dwarf Iris

Flower of the month – February : Southern Dwarf Iris
Southern Dwarf Iris (MT: Bellus) – Iris pseudopumila

One of the most striking wild flowers of the Maltese Islands is in bloom around this time of year  in rocky areas … but alas it remains to be found only in a handful of places. This short iris supports a beautiful large velvety flower which is described wonderfully by the Maltese name ‘Bellus’ (velvet). Even rarer is the pale yellow form of this iris. These delightfully scented flowers are short lived but are highly specialised to attract pollinators thanks to a pattern of lines actings as a nectar guide. The Southern Dwarf Iris is considered a sub-endemic restricted only to Malta, Sicily and Southern Italy and is a locally protected species. Hopefully their habitat and this species will be better conserved and managed in the near future especially where their population resides in Natura 2000 sites but not only. This is a species which could be relatively easily propagated and reintroduced in areas where its population may have been destroyed.

You can read more about this beautiful plant on Malta’s best online database of flora.