This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Iris Pavonia. Peacock Iris.
Cor. 6-petala inaequalis, Petalis alternis geniculato-patentibus, Stigmata petaliformia; cucullato-bilabiata.
IRIS pavonia imberbis folio lineari glabro, scapo subunifloro. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. p. 92.
We have our doubts whether the plant here figured be the pavonia of the Systema Vegetabilium, as it does not accord so well with the description there given, as we could wish; as such however it has been regarded by some here, and it must be allowed to answer extremely well to the name.
It is a small delicate Iris, about a foot and a half high, with very narrow leaves, bearing on the top of the stalk one or at most two flowers, three of the petals are large and white, with a brilliant blue spot at the base of each, edged on the outer side with deep purple; the delicacy of the flower, and the eye-like spot at the base of three of the petals, render at one of the most striking plants of the genus.
The figure here given was drawn from a plant which flowered with Messrs. Grimwood and Co. last June, who received it from Holland, and treat it in the same way as their Cape bulbs, of which country it is said to be a native.
It is not mentioned either in Mr. Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, or the Hortus Kewensis.