Europaea classifies this taxon as Iris sintenisii
Janka ssp. brandzae D.A. Webb et Chatter
perennial, 2n=10?, geophyte,
thermonemoral forest-steppe, mesophyle sometimes slightly, marginally halotolerant
pallisiae - Quercetum pedunculiflorae.
A narrow endemic of the forest-steppe in
the low plains in the eastern part of Romania (subsidence Ploiesti
and Siret Plains) and of Moldavian Plain. It occurs also in the low
plains from Republic of Moldova.
When you see for the first time this species
and you are familiar with Iris
graminea L. you suddenly realize why the existence
of this species was in fact so lately discovered (1935). The
Romanian botanists which lived before the author of the species
(Iuliu Prodan) knew the populations but they thought it is Iris
graminea L. As Iris brandzae Prodan this species is
mesophitic - mesohygrophile and they are clearly closely related.
The taxon has nothing to do with Iris
sintenisii Janka, a mesoxeric forest-steppe species with a
range partially overlapping that of Iris brandzae but in
very different ecological conditions. The single resemblance between
the two species are the narrow mid tepals (the claws) which are
narrow. These obvious facts determined the authors of the last
Romanian flora books (Ciocarlan 2009, Sarbu, Stefan et Oprea 2013)
to reconsider the taxon as an independent species.
In regarding the chromosome number 2n=10
this is based on a very old analysis provided by Tarnavschi (1948)
and we think it might be incorrect. Iris graminea has 2n=34
and Iris sintenisii 2n=16,32. However if our species is
diploid it can be ancestral for the polyploid Iris graminea.
Interesting enough, the species is poorly
known by European naturalists but frequently cultivated and popular
among gardeners in the western United States. The only available
images from the internet of this species on 11th of May 2014 were
from three gardening websites from western US (see here, here
Noticeably the images below are the first ones published on the
internet with the species in its native habitat, in Romania.
Spătaru forest, Buzau county in the
forest-steppe woodland with Fraxinus pallisiae
on Gleyc Chernozems (of "lacoviste" type), 26th of April,
dr. Alexandru Badarau, email@example.com