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IRIDIUM—IRIS

species, S. angustifolium, an arctic and temperate North American species, is also native in Galway and Kerry in Ireland. Other British representatives of the order are: Iris Pseudacorus, (yellow iris), common by river-banks and ditches, I foetidissima (stinking iris), Gladiolus commuuis, a rare plant found in the New Forest and the Isle of Wight, and Romulea Columnae, a small plant with narrow recurved leaves a few inches long and a short scape bearing one or more small regular funnel-shaped Bowers, which occurs at Dawlish in Devonshire.


IRIDIUM (symbol Ir.; atomic weight IQ3'I), one of the metals of the platinum group, discovered in 1802 by Smithson Tennant during the examination of the residue left when platinum ores are dissolved in aqua regia; the element occurs in platinum ores in the form of alloys of platinum and iridium, and of osmium and iridium. Many methods have been devised for the separation of these metals (see PLATINUM), one of the best being that of H. St. C. Deville and H. ]. Debray (Comptes reudus, 1874, 78, p. 1 502). In this process the osmiridium is fused with zinc and the excess of zinc evaporated; the residue is then ignited with barium nitrate, extracted with water and boiled with nitric acid. The iridium is then precipitated from the solution (as oxide) by the addition of baryta, dissolved in aqua rcgia, and precipitated as iridium ammonium chloride by the addition of ammonium chloride. The double chloride is fused with nitre, the melt extracted with water and the residue fused with lead, the excess of lead being finally removed by solution in nitric acid and aqua regia. It is a brittle metal of specific gravity 22-4 (Deville and Debray), and is only fusible with great difficulty. It may be obtained in the spongy form by igniting iridium ammonium chloride, and this variety of the metal readilv oxidizes when heated in air.

Two oxides of iridium are known, namely the sesquioxide, Ir2O3, and the dioxide, IrO2, corresponding to which there are two series of salts, the sesqui-salts and the iridic salts; a third series of salts is also known (the iridious salts) derived from an oxide IrO. Iridium sesquioxide, Ir2O3, is obtained when potassium iridium chloride is heated with sodium or potassium carbonates, in a stream of carbon dioxide. It is a bluish-black powder which at high temperatures decomposes into the metal, dioxide and oxygen. The hydroxide, lr(OH)5, may be obtained by the addition of caustic potash to iridium sodium chloride, the mixture being then heated with alcohol. Iridium dioxide, lrO2, may be obtained as small needles by heating the metal to bright redness in a current of oxygen (G. Geisenheimer, Comptes rendus, 1890, IIO, p. 855). The corresponding hydroxide, Ir(OH)4, is formed when potassium iridate is boiled with ammonium chloride, or when the tetrachloride is boiled with caustic potash or sodium carbonate. It is an indigo-blue powder, soluble in hydrochloric acid, but insoluble in dilute nitric and sulphuric acids. On the oxides see L. W6hler and W. Witzmann, Zeit. anorg. Chem. (1908), 57, p. 323. Iridium sesquichloride, IrCl3, is obtained when one of the corresponding double chlorides is heated with concentrated sulphuric acid, the mixture being then thrown into water. It is thus obtained as an olive green precipitate which is insoluble in acids and alkalis. Potassium iridium sesquichloride, K3IrCl¢-3H2O, is obtained by passing sulphur dioxide into a suspension of potassium chloriridate in water until all dissolves, and then adding potassium carbonate to the solution (C. Claus, Jour. prob. Chem., 1847, 42, p. 351). It forms green prisms which are readi y soluble in water. Similar sodium and ammonium compounds are known. Iridium tetrachloride, IrCl|, is obtained by dissolving the finely divided metal in aqua regia; by dissolving the hydroxide in hydrochloric acid; and by digesting the hydrated sesquichloride with nitric acid. On evaporating the solution (not above 40° C.) a dark mass is obtained, which contains a little sesquichloride. It forms double chlorides with the alkaline chlorides. For a bromide see A. Gauthier and M. Riess, Ber., 1909, 42, p. 3905. Iridium sulphide, IrS, is obtained when the metal is ignited in sulphur vapour. The sesquisulphide, Ir2S3, is obtained as a brown precipitate when sulphuretted hydrogen is passed into a solution of one of the sesqui-salts. It is slightly soluble in potassium sulphide. The disulphide, IrS¢, is formed when powdered iridium is heated with sulphur and an alkaline carbonate. It is a dark brown powder. Iridium forms many ammine derivatives, which are analogous to the corresponding platinum compounds (see M. Skoblikoff, Jahresb., 1852, p. 428; W. Palmer, Ber., 1889, 22, p. 15; 1890, 23, p. 3810; 1891, 24, p. 2090; Zeit. anorg. Chem., 1896, 13, p. 211). Iridium is always determined quantitatively by conversion into the metallic state. The atomic weight of the element has been determined in various ways, C. Seubert (Ber., 1878, 1 1, p. 1770), by the analysis of potassium chloriridate obtaining the value 192'74, and A. joly (Camptes rendus, 189O, 110, p. 1131) from analyses of potassium and ammonium chloriridites, the value 191-78 (O = 15-88). IRIGA, a town of the province of Ambos Camarines, Luzon, Philippine Islands, on the Bicol river, about 20 m. S.E. of Nueva Caceres and near the S.W. base of Mt. Iriga, a volcanic peak reaching a height of 4092 ft. above the sea. Pop. (1903) 19,207. Iriga has a temperate climate. The soil in its vicinity is rich, producing rice, Indian corn, sugar, pepper, cacao, cotton, abacé., tobacco and copra. The neighbouring forests furnish ebony, molave, tindalo and other very valuable hardwoods. The language is Bicol.


IRIS, in Greek mythology, daughter of Thaumas and the Ocean nymph Electra (according to Hesiod), the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. As the rainbow unites earth and heaven, Iris is the messenger of the gods to men; in this capacity she is mentioned frequently in the Iliad, but never in the Odyssey, where Hermes takes her place. She is represented as a youthful virgin, with wings of gold, who hurries with the swiftness of the wind from one end of the world to the other, into the depths of the sea and the underworld. She is especially the messenger of Zeus and Hera, and is associated with Hermes, whose caduceus or staff she often holds. By command of Zeus she carries in a ewer 'water from the Styx, with which she puts to sleep all who perjure themselves. Her attributes are the caduceus and a vase.


IRIS, in botany. The iris flower belongs to the natural order Iridaceae of the class Monocotyledons, which is characterized by a petaloid six-parted perianth, an inferior ovary and only three stamens (the outer series), being thus distinguished from the Amaryllidaceae family, which has six stamens. They are handsome showy-Bowered plants, the Greek name having been applied on account of the hues of the Bowers. The genus contains about 170 species widely distributed throughout the north temperate zone. Two of the species are British. I Pseudacorus, the yellow Bag or iris, is common in Britain on river-banks, and in marshes and ditches. It is called the “water-Bag” or “ bastard Boure de-luce ” by Gerard, who remarks that “although it be a water plant of nature, yet being planted in gardens it prospereth well.” Its flowers appear in June and July, and are of a golden-yellow colour. The leaves are from 2 to 4 ft. long, and half an inch to an inch broad. Towards the latter part of the year they are eaten by cattle. The seeds are numerous and pale-brown; they have been recommended when roasted as a substitute for coffee, of which, however, they have not the properties. The astringent rhizome has diuretic, purgative and emetic properties, and may, it is said, be used for dyeing black, and in the place of galls for ink-making. The other British species, I . foetidissima, the fetid iris, gladdon or roast beef plant, the Xyris or stinking gladdon of Gerard, is a native of England south of Durham, and also of Ireland, southern Europe and North Africa. Its flowers are usually of a dull, leaden-blue colour; the capsules, which remain attached to the plant throughout the winter, are 2 to 3 in. long; and the seeds scarlet. When bruised this species emits a peculiar and disagreeable odour.

Iris floreutiua, with white or pale-blue Bowers, is a native of the south of Europe, and is 'the source of the violet-scented orris root used in perfumery. Iris versicolor, or blue flag, is indigenous to North America, and yields “ iridin, " a powerful hepatic stimulant. Iris germauica of central Europe, “ the most common purple Fleur de Luce” of Ray, is the large common blue iris of gardens, the bearded iris or Beur de luce and probably

the Illyrian iris of the ancients. From the Bowers of Iris florentina a pigment-the “ verdelis, ” “vert d'iris, ” or iris-green” formerly used by miniature painters-was prepared by maceration, the Buid being left to putrefy, when chalk or alum was added. The garden plants known as the Spanish iris and the English iris are both of Spanish origin, and have very showy Bowers. Along with some other species, as I reticulata and I persica, both of which are fragrant, they form great favourites with Borists. All these just mentioned differ from those formerly named in the nature of the underground stem, which forms a bulb and not a strict creeping rhizome as in I . Pseudacorus, germauica, jloreutiua, &c. Some botanists separate these bulbous