Synonyms: Iris stylosa
Other names: Winter-flowering Iris
Iris unguicularis (also commonly known as the Algerian iris) is a rhizomatous flowering plant in the genus Iris, native to Greece, Turkey, Western Syria, and Tunisia. It grows to 30 centimetres (12 in), with grassy evergreen leaves, producing pale lilac or purple flowers with a central band of yellow on the falls. The flowers appear in winter and early spring. They are fragrant, with pronounced perianth tubes up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long. They are extremely susceptible to slugs, especially very small ones.
This plant is widely cultivated in temperate regions, and numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, including a slightly more tender white form 'Alba', and a dwarf variety I. unguicularis subsp. cretensis. The cultivar Mary Barnard' has gained the Royal Horticultural Societys Award of Garden Merit.