Iris bungei is a beardless iris in the genus Iris, in the subgenus Limniris and in the Tenuifoliae series of the species. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial, from Mongolia, Tibet and China. It has green leaves, short stem and 2 violet, purple, lavender or blue flowers.
It has knobbly, woody, rhizomes. That can spread to create dense clumps of plants. It has red-brown or maroon-brown fibres or sheaths, that can be 10–13 cm (4–5 in) long, which are the remains of the previous seasons leaves.
It has 3 green, ovate between 10–8 cm (4–3 in) long and 4–3 cm (2–1 in) wide, large spathes (leaves of the flower bud). Hence, reason for the common names of 'Big bud Iris' or 'Big Bract Iris'. Compared to Iris ventricosa, it has parallel veins on the spathes, instead of being reticulate.
It has 2 pairs of petals, 3 large sepals (outer petals), known as the 'falls' and 3 inner, smaller petals (or tepals, known as the 'standards'. The falls are oblong and oblanceolate (Top wider than the bottom), measuring 6–5 cm (2–2 in) long and 1.5–1.2 cm wide. They have a small, thin yellow signal area and are marked with purple veins or marks. The standards are erect, narrowly oblanceolate, 5.5–5 cm (2–2 in) long and 10–8 mm wide.
It has a 1.5 cm long pedicel, a filiform (Thread- or filament-shaped) 6–7 cm long perinath tube, 3 cm long stamens and 4.5–4 cm long ovary. It has 5.5–5 cm (2–2 in) long style branches, that are the same colour as the petals.
After the iris has flowered, it produces a narrow, cylindric seed capsule, 9–8 cm (4–3 in) long and 2–1.5 cm wide in July and August. The capsule has 6 veins and a long beak-like appendage on the top.
In May 2000, 2 new benzo-quinone derivatives, bungeiquinone and dihydrobungeiquinone, and two known derivatives, 3-hydroxyirisquinone and 3-hydroxydihydroirisquinone, were isolated from the rhizome of Iris bungei. The structures of the new compounds were established on the basis of spectroscopic methods.
In 2001, 5 new peltogynoids, irisoids A—E, have been isolated from the rhizome of Iris bungei.
In 2008, five species of Iris commonly used as ingredients in Mongolian traditional medicine (Iris dichotoma Pall., Iris flavissima Pall.(later classified as a synonym of Iris humilis), Iris tenuifolia Pall., Iris lactea Pall. and Iris bungei Maxim.) were studied for the presence of phenolic acids.
In 2011, the seeds of Iris bungei were analysed and found to contain a new 'belamcandaquinone' chemical compound as well as others.
Distribution and habitat
It is best planted between September and October.
It is used in traditional Chinese medicines.
The root of Iris bungei is a source of 'Irilin A' (an organic compound,) and 'Irilin B' (which is also found in red clover leaves,) and 'Irilin D', which are all used as Supplements. Tetra-hydroxy-6-methoxyisoflavone (or Irilin D) can be found in Iris japonica or belamcanda chinensis (Iris domestica).
In December 2005, plants of the ranges of Mongolia were studied for palatability by various farm animals. Iris bungei was not eaten by cattle and sheep, goat found the plant desirable, horses ate the plant (as a last resort) and camels found the plant edible.
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