Blue Flag Iris
* Sepals violet, showy, downcurved
and boldly veined.
* Leaves graceful, sword-like, with parallel veins.
* Height: 2-3'.
* Flowers May - July.
* Habitat: Sunny spots in marshes and wet meadows.
* Range: Southern Canada to southern United States.
* The iris has been a regal emblem throughout history; perhaps it is
most recognizable in the French fleur-de-lis.
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