King County Iris Society -

Member Essay

About Species Iris

Lorena Reid has presented slides involving a number of species iris. With the thought in mind that not all members may be familiar with them, the following is a capsule description of the species and crosses she mentioned.

Species Native Location(s) Bloom Height Growing Characteristics Flower Color
I. bulleyana SW China 14-18" Likes acid soil and acid water; moist soil and plenty of humus are needed Standards Blue to Violet; Falls mottled and striped blue-violet over white
I. chrysographes China & Burma 12-30" Two flowers per stem Red-violet to Black with or without signal of gold lines
I. clarkei Himalayan countries 24" Solid stems, often with multiple branches; erect foliage Blue-violet with obvious signal-like a butterfly
I. delavayi SW China 24-47" Wide foliage; late bloomer Light to dark Blue-violet. White signal
I. dykesii Found in Dykes' garden after his death 36" Deep Violet. White signal. Yellow veins
I. forestii China into N. Burma 14-30" (Dwarf 6") Foliage shiny on top; bluish-green underneath Yellow. Signal of dark lines and spots. Fragrant.
I. laevigata Eastern Asia & Japan 30-36" Hybridized with I. versicolor. Likes wet conditions, acid soil and direct sunlight. Blue, Purple, White
I. pseudocorus Europe across to the Middle East , down to North Africa 30-63" Largest plant; Flourishes in wet conditions Yellow, Cream, White
I. setosa Eastern Asia Japan; Alaska; Eastern Canada (depends on subspecies) 6-40" Full sun and moist, rich soil; Hybridized with other species and Siberian iris Blue, Purple, White
I. versicolor Eastern US 8-31" Cross between I. virginica & I. setosa. 108 chromosomes. In the wild grow in wet conditions but adapts to dry locations. Hybridized with I. virginica and Japanese iris Blue, Violet, Pink, White
I. wilsonii China 24-30" Glaucous foliage i.e. bluish-green appearance Yellow with brown-veined signal; Fragrant

Contributed by Dwayne Booth for the KCIS Newsletter, November, 1999