Blue Flag Iris

Iris versicolor
Family Iridaceae

* Sepals violet, showy, downcurved and boldly veined.
* Leaves graceful, sword-like, with parallel veins.
* Height: 2-3'.

Natural History:
* Flowers May - July.
* Habitat: Sunny spots in marshes and wet meadows.
* Range: Southern Canada to southern United States.
* Native.

* The iris has been a regal emblem throughout history; perhaps it is most recognizable in the French fleur-de-lis.

* "Flower-de-Luce"
Thou art the muse, who far from crowded cities
Hauntest the sylvan streams,
Playing on pipes of reed the artless ditties
That come to us as dreams.
O flower-de-luce, bloom on, and let the river
Linger to kiss thy feet!
O flower of song, bloom on, and make forever
The world more fair and sweet.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

* Irises have been used for "alternative powers" to treat various skin diseases and chronic rheumatism. "At this time the town was fasting, taking medicine, and I think I may say praying, to avert a grevious calamity of sickness...taking at the same time by way of medicine or physic, a strong decoction of the roots of Iris versicolor, which is a powerful cathartic; they hold this root in high estimation: every town cultivates a little plantation of it, having a large artificial pond, just without the town, planted and almost overgrown with it."
- William Bartram, while among the Atasi Indians of Alabama, 1775


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008