Stinking Iris

Europe, North Africa

General description

Clump-forming rhizomatous perennial herb < 80 cm tall. Leaves are sword-shaped, leathery, dark green and foul-smelling when crushed. Flowers are pale yellow with green-brown/brown-purple markings and borne on erect stem. Fruits are three-sided capsules that split open to release many round, red seeds.

What you need to know

Although stinking iris is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Disturbed forest, forest and riparian margins, shrubland, scrub, coastal areas, wasteland, roadsides.

Seeds dispersed by birds and gravity. Vegetative spread from rhizome fragments, dispersed by water. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, deliberate plantings and movement of contaminated soil and machinery.

Forms dense clumps, displacing native vegetation and preventing native seedling recruitment. Poisonous to humans and livestock.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

yellow flag
Iris pseudacorus

Yellow flag is aquatic with tall stems and yellow flowers

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Stinking iris - Main species image