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Blueflag Iris

Iris versicolor L.

Blueflag iris
Figure 23.—Blueflag iris (Iris versicolor)
Other common names.—Iris, flag lily, liver lily, snake lily, poison flag, water flag, American fleur-de-lis or flower-de-luce.

Habitat and range.—Blueflag iris delights in wet, swampy localities, making its home in marshes, thickets, and wet meadows from Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Florida and Arkansas.

Description.—This well-known plant is from 2 to 3 feet hl height With an erect stem, sometimes branched near the top, and sword-shaped leaves, shorter than the stem, from one-half to 1 inch in width and showing a slight grayish bloom. The flowers, which appear from May to July, are large and handsome, each stem bearing from two to six or more. They have a peculiar form, consisting of six segments, the three outer ones turned back and the three inner ones erect and much smaller. They are purplish blue, the narrow base of the segments variegated with yellow, green, or white and marked with purple veins. Blueflag has a thick, fleshy, horizontal, branched rootstock producing many long, fibrous roots. It is poisonous and has caused poisonous effects in persons who mistook the plant for sweetflag which it resembles greatly when not in flower.

Part used.—The rootstock, collected in autumn. demand.


Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, March 13, 1998 by aw