The giant blue iris grows 3–5 feet tall and prefers freshwater marshes. The leaves are 30 inches long or less and 1 1/2 inches wide; they clasp the stem near the base. The blue outer tepals, 3 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide, are marked with a whitish patch with a prominent yellow center; they hang down and are called falls. The blue, erect inner tepals are 3 inches long and are called standards.
A member of the iris family (family Iridaceae) which consists of herbs growing from rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, with narrow basal leaves and showy clusters at the tips of long stalks. There are about 60 genera and 1,500 species, distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Among them, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus, Bugle Lily, and Montbretia are popular ornamentals. Saffron dye is obtained from Crocus, and essence of violets, used in perfumes, is extracted from the rhizomes of Iris.
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