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The Sicilian iris

The Sicilian Iris know as l-fjurdulis Sqalli – (Iris sicula) is native in garigue, maquis and rocky steppes, also found on abandoned fields. Its robust plant grows up to 1m and it has flat broad sword-like glaucous leaves, evergreen, large showy, sweet-scented dark violet-blue flowers, divided into three erect inner segments, and another three that are usually reflexed. The falls possess a tuft of usually yellow or white hairs on the upper surface and its flowers appear between March and June.

The similar Florentine Iris or Fleur-de-Lys (il-fjurdulis l-abjad), with large white flowers, occasionally tinged pale blue, with a pale yellow beard on the falls, can be met with naturalised, like some parts of Malta.

The Sicilian Iris is endemic to Sicily, Malta and Gozo, but occurs as planted in Comino. Reported as extinct from Sicily, it is possibly confined to Malta and Gozo. It is legally protected, therefore one should not pick, collect, cut, uproot, destroy or damage this unique plant in any way.

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