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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Iris virginica L.
Virginia iris, Great Blue Flag, Southern blueflag
USDA Symbol: IRVI
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A southern wetland species occurring from Virginia to Florida and Texas, Iris virginica is 2 feet (60 cm) tall with bright green leaves that often lie on the ground or water.
Southern Blueflag is 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. Flowers: usually radially symmetrical; calyx has 3 petal-like sepals; corolla has 3 petals; stamens 3. All these parts are attached at top of ovary. Leaves: simple, alternate, folded and overlapping one another at the base and aligned in two rows. Fruit: capsule. 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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green, Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Blue
Bloom Time: May
, WV Canada: ON Native Distribution:
Coastal Plain from s.e. VA
to TX Native Habitat:
Marshes; wet pinelands; swamps; wet meadows
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Southern blue flag is an ideal plant for edges of ponds, lily pools or drainage ditches. I. shrevei is the northern variety of this species.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Clump division is the usual method of increase. Divide in early fall when the leaves begin to turn yellow. Keep stringy roots attached to the stubby rhizome
sections. If propagation is to made by seed, sow immediately in an outdoor seed bed. Seedlings Seed Collection:
Storage of iris seed greatly reduces viability. Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-06-15
Research By: NPC