Iris missouriensis

Appearance: Wild Iris is a bluish-purple native flower characteristic in appearance to cultivated irises.  It grows to about 2 feet in height and blooms from May to July.

Habitat: It is found in foothills to subalpine life zones, mostly in moist open areas, wet meadows, and stream sides at 4,500 to 9,500 feet elevation.  Growing in full sun, it drenches meadows in its vivid blue color, and is prevalent in areas that have been grazed heavily.

Landscape suitability: Wild Iris is suitable for many landscape uses, from formal settings, to woodlands and meadows, as well as next to ponds and in butterfly gardens.  One note of caution is that the rootstocks and leaves are poisonous if eaten.  It is pollinated by native bees, bumblebees, and butterflies.  Wild Iris readily spreads by underground stems, or rhizomes, as well as by seed.

Contributed by Susan Thomas, Colorado Native Plant Master. Upper photo: Leslie Holzmann, lower photo: Lisa Bird

Sources:
Native Plant Master Manual, El Paso County; Colorado State University; 2008

Wild about Wildflowers; Katherine Darrow; Wildkat Publishing, Glendale, AZ.; 2006

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