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Southern dwarf iris

The southern dwarf iris or il-bellus in Maltese is rarely found in garigue and rocky steppes. This plant is a robust plant and grows up to 25cm. It has flat broad sword-like glaucous leaves which are slightly curved and evergreen with large showy flowers, mostly deep violet or pale yellow, often bi-coloured, divided into three erect inner segments, and another three that are usually reflexed.

The falls possess a tuft of usually yellow or violet hairs and its flowers appear during the month of January and February. This plant is endemic to southern Italy, Sicily and nearby islands, including Malta and Gozo.

It has been declared a strictly protected plant under the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats protection regulations and one should not prune, fell or uproot this plant.

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