Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Iris versicolor L.
- Family: Iris (Iridaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this erect, blue-flowering iris are the sepals with
a greenish-yellow basal blotch and the tuft of fresh leaves that are purple.
- Habitat: Deep to shallow marshes, often in standing water, meadows, wet ditches.
- Habit: Perennial herb from a stout rhizome.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, up to 3 feet tall, smooth, flattened at base.
- Leaves: Elongated, up to 3 feet long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide, smooth, purple at base when first appearing.
- Flowers: 1-several in a cluster, subtended by spathe-like bracts, blue, up to 3 inches across.
- Sepals: 3, spatula-shaped, up to 3 inches long, blue with a greenish yellow blotch near base, narrowed to a claw at the base, recurved.
- Petals: 3, blue, 1/2-2/3 as long as the sepals and more upright or spreading.
- Stamens: 3, attached to the base of the sepals, concealed by the styles.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, 3-angled; styles petal-like, arching, 2-lobed, blue.
- Fruits: Capsules 3-angled, up to 3 inches long, ovoid to ellipsoid, the inner surface appearing to be varnished.
- Notes: The distribution map also includes var. shrevei.
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