Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Iris versicolor L.
IRIDACEAE (Iris Family)
EtymologyIris is named for Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow; versicolor is Latin for variously-colored.
Synonyms (Common Name)Blue Iris, Northern Blue Iris, Wild Iris, Poison Flag, Fleur-de-lis
DescriptionBlue flag grows in wetter, more minerotrophic areas of acidic peatlands where, with its large, violet-blue flower, it is one of the showier perennial herbs. Blue flag grows to 2 1/2' tall in small clumps from thick, creeping rhizomes.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightto 2.5 feet
LeavesSimple, entire, 8-30" long, erect, sword-like, bluish or grayish green; growing from the rhizome in a flat plane or fanlike cluster; leaves appear before the stem.
Flower/InflorescenceViolet-blue, large (2 1/2 - 4" wide); 3 large, downcurved, outer sepals, tinged with yellow or white and veined in dark purple; 3 smaller, erect inner petals; stem may bear one or more flowers.
Flowering PeriodMay-July
FruitCapsule, to 2 1/2" long, erect, bluntly 3-lobed; contains many flattened seeds.
HabitatDeciduous swamps, marshes, wet meadows, margins of ponds and streams.
RangeNewfoundland to Manitoba, south to Virginia and Minnesota.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett