Iris is the largest genus in the Iridaceae family. It contains more than 300 species and many hybrids and cultivars. It's useful to become familiar with the groups or subgenus divisions, as this helps to sort out similar species, an aid when approaching their cultivation.

The topic of the week for March 2004 was Iris. The Introduction was supplied by Robert Pries. He also prepared an Iris Summary summarizing the proposed changes in how this genus could be divided in the future.

The Iris flower has three fold symmetry. The lower sepals are called 'falls' and provide an attractive landing pad for pollinators (bees). To get at the nectar they must push up the 'style arm' and as they do this pollen on them is removed by the 'stigmatic lip' pollinating the flower. New pollen is then applied from the stamen and as the insect backs out the structure of the lip ensures the new pollen is not removed. Captioned photographs by David Pilling of Iris sibirica.

Iris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica, David PillingIris sibirica with pollinator, David Pilling

In Greek mythology, Iris was goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods.

Three genera that were formerly separated from Iris are now included in the genus: Belamcanda, Hermodactylus, and Pardanthopsis.

Iris dichotoma, syn. Pardanthopsis dichotoma, Jim McKenneyIris domestica, syn. Belamcanda chinensis, Jay YourchIris tuberosa, syn. Hermodactylus tuberosus, UC Botanical Garden

Bulbous irises with wiki pages are Juno Irises, Reticulata Irises, and Spanish Irises. Hybrids of Spanish Irises are called Dutch Irises and are pictured on the Spanish Irises page.

Iris cycloglossa, Juno iris, Bill DijkIris willmottiana alba, Juno iris, Mark McDonoughIris reticulata 'Lovely Liza',  reticulata iris,  Mark MazerIris winogradowii, reticulata iris,  John LonsdaleIris xiphium var. lusitanica, Spanish Iris, Celestino GelpiIris filifolia, Spanish Iris, José Miguel Paneque

Irises with rhizomes that have wiki pages are Aril Irises, Beardless iris A-K - Beardless iris L-R - Beardless iris S-Z - Crested Irises, Garden Bearded Irises, and Pacific Coast Irises.

Iris iberica ssp. elegantissima, Aril Iris, John LonsdaleIris orientalis, Beardless Iris, Angelo PorcelliIris unguicularis, Beardless Iris, Nhu NguyenIris tectorum, Crested Iris, Jana UlmerIris kochii, Garden Bearded Iris, Angelo PorcelliIris purdyi, Pacific Coast Iris, Mary Sue Ittner

Miscellaneous Irises includes species that are not listed on one of the other pages.

Iris decora, David Nicholson

Click on the name in the table below to find more information and/or to see photographs of the named species or cultivar.

Iris species and cultivars
Iris acutiloba Iris albicans Iris anguifuga Iris atropurpurea Iris attica
Iris aucheri Iris bakeriana Iris barbatula Iris bicapitata Iris 'Big Smile'
Iris 'Blue Warslind' Iris boissieri Iris bracteata Iris brandzae Iris brevicaulis
Iris 'Bronze Beauty' Iris bucharica Iris caucasica Iris chrysophylla Iris collettii
Iris confusa Iris cristata Iris cycloglossa Iris danfordiae Iris 'Dardanus'
Iris decora Iris dichotoma Iris dolichosiphon Iris domestica Iris douglasiana
Iris ensata Iris fernaldii Iris filifolia Iris × flavescens Iris foetidissima
Iris fosteriana Iris galatica Iris gatesii Iris germanica Iris gracilipes
Iris graeberiana Iris graminea Iris halophila Iris 'Harmony' Iris hartwegii
Iris henryi Iris histrio Iris histrioides Iris hoogiana Iris hookeri
Iris humilis Iris hyrcana Iris iberica Iris inconspicua Iris innominata
Iris japonica Iris juncea Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin' Iris kirkwoodii Iris kochii
Iris kolpakowskiana Iris koreana Iris korolkowii Iris kuschakewiczii Iris lactea
Iris lacustris Iris 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' Iris laevigata Iris latifolia Iris lazica
Iris lutescens Iris macrosiphon Iris magnifica Iris mandschurica Iris minutoaurea
Iris missouriensis Iris munzii Iris 'Nada' Iris narbutii Iris odaesanensis
Iris orchioides Iris orientalis Iris 'Oriental Beauty' Iris palaestina Iris pallida
Iris pamphylica Iris paradoxa Iris persica Iris planifolia Iris pseudacorus
Iris pseudopumila Iris pumila Iris purdyi Iris reichenbachii Iris reticulata
Iris rosenbachiana Iris ruthenica Iris 'Sapphire Beauty' Iris sari Iris schachtii
Iris serotina Iris setosa Iris 'Sheila Ann Germaney' Iris sibirica Iris sicula
Iris sichuanensis Iris 'Sindpers' Iris sintenisii Iris speculatrix Iris spuria
Iris stenophylla Iris stolonifera Iris suaveolens Iris tectorum Iris tenax
Iris tenuis Iris tigridia Iris tingitana Iris tubergeniana Iris tuberosa
Iris unguicularis Iris verna Iris vicaria Iris virginica Iris warleyensis
Iris wattii Iris willmottiana Iris winogradowii Iris xiphium Iris zaprjagajewii
Iris zenaidae

To see more Iris pictures go to the SIGNA species database. You can also get more information on Aril irises from the Aril Society International. The American Iris Society has created an Iris encyclopedia with information and photos.

Aril Irises - Belamcanda - Beardless iris A-K - Beardless iris L-R - Beardless iris S-Z - Crested Irises - Garden Bearded Irises - Hermodactylus - Juno iris A-I - Juno iris J-R - Juno iris S-Z - Miscellaneous Irises - Pacific Coast Irises - Pardanthopsis - Reticulata Irises - Spanish Irises

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Page last modified on April 03, 2014, at 08:15 AM