Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Iris virginica L.
- Family: Iris (Iridaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This iris differs from other erect, blue-flowering species by the bright yellow
blotch at the base of each sepal and by the pale brown base of the fresh tufts of leaves.
- Habitat: Bottomland woods, marshes, wet savannas, sometimes in standing water.
- Habit: Perennial herb from stout rhizomes.
- 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, pale brown at base when first appearing.
- Flowers: 1-several in a cluster, subtended by spathe-like bracts, blue, up to 4 inches across.
- Sepals: 3, spatula-shaped, up to 4 inches long, blue with a bright yellow blotch near base, narrowed to a claw at the base, recurved.
- Petals: 3, blue, a little shorter than the sepals and more erect to 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, 2 1/2-3 1/2 inches long, ovoid to ellipsoid.
- Notes: This attractive species is often grown as an ornamental.
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