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Iris hartwegii (Rainbow iris)
Reveal, James L.

Iris hartwegii

Iris hartwegii Baker

Rainbow Iris, Sierra Iris

Iridaceae (Iris Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This variable species usually has narrow, pale-green leaves and light-yellow flowers with golden or purple veins. The flower stem in slender, from 6 in.-1 ft. tall, and bears 1-2 flowers.

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.


From the Image Gallery

35 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: May , Jun


Native Distribution: W. base of Sierras from Butte to Kern Cos., CA
Native Habitat: Wooded slopes from 2000-6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Hybridizes readily with I. macrosiphon.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Seed Collection: Easily collected from the large capsules.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FACU OBL
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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

USDA: Find Iris hartwegii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Iris hartwegii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Iris hartwegii


Record Modified: 2019-04-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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