After visiting the Kerman region we drove to the northwest, to the city of Yazd. Here we wanted to visit the nearby Shir Kuh mountains, home of both Dionysia janthina and Dionysia curviflora. Once in the Shir Kuh we faced some serious problems with our car, a leaf spring in the front wheel suspension broke! Luckily we still could drive, by driving very slowly we managed to get to the city of Yazd. We first had to go to a garage to find out what exactly had happened, and indeed the front leaf spring was broken! A new one had to be send from Germany, after all it took 14 days before we could continue… In the mean time one of the mechanics had fixed a “new” leaf spring, and with this we were able to go back to Shir Kuh. On the 14th of April 2003 we first went to a gorge near the town of Taft, here we found Dionysia janthina. Unfortunately all plants were past flowering, due to the problems with our car we had missed this. Most of the plants grow on the north side of this gorge, which is in fact not part of the Shir Kuh. In cultivation this is also a very beautiful species and not particular difficult. Usually plants can become rather old, but younger plants are mostly more floriferous. Propagation is quite easy by cuttings.
Very like D. curviflora in general appearance but differing in the leaves that are hairy almost all over. The calyx is also hairy on the outside in contrast to D. curviflora. Corolla pink, often paler in the centre with a yellowish eye. Tube 10mm long, 6-7mm diameter, divided into broad-obcordate, deeply emarginate lobes. As fine a plant in cultivation as D. curviflora, but more tricky to cultivate successfully. All species produce a few precocious flowers in the autumn, this species more than most. Central Iran, Yazd Province, near Taft and Mehriz, on shaded limestone cliffs, 1800-2000m. Clones in cultivation JCA2806, DZ I 01-01, T4Z006, T4Z007, T4Z008, JLMS02-05, SLIZE265, KUHI279-1, KUHI280-6.
Reference: ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY PLANT ENCYCLOPAEDIA
Some other interesting websites:
Greek Mountain Flora
Botanical Garden of the University Tübingen Germany
Gothenburg Botanical Garden Sweden
Utrecht Botanic Gardens Netherlands
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh UK
Alpine Garden Society Encyclopaedia