Blue-flag Iris


Blue-flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Description

Blueflag Iris are easily distinguished by their bright blue-purple flowers. These flowers consist of three vibrant sepals with yellow or white center stripes. In the center of these downward curving sepals, there are three smaller upright petals. Each plant may contain several flowers of approximately 10cm. The plant itself may grow between 60cm-90cm and has long, lance shaped leaves. Blueflag Iris’ are hardy, easy-to-grow perennials.
The Blueflag Iris grows well in wet areas such as swampy meadows or riparian areas. It makes a dense mat of foliage and it is really one of our most beautiful native wildflowers.

Growing Conditions

The Blueflag Iris grows well in wet areas along riparian zones, and thrive in sunny or partially shaded areas. It is very tolerant to pH levels, prefers organic rich soil, loamy soil, or peat soil and can grow anywhere with a substantial winter freeze. A unique feature of this plant is that they can survive being submerged in water for a period of time.

Propagation

Wait until flowers have fallen and they will be replaced with a three-angled oblong capsule. Each capsule will contain numerous tightly packed seeds. To maintain seed viability make sure they do not dry out. They are best stored in a container with moist sand. Flowers will grow best in a pond or stream side area. The seeds will remain dormant until they experience the vigorous freeze-thaw patterns of fall and winter. For this reason, it is best to plant in early to late fall and allow dormancy to be broken naturally over the winter.

Wildlife Uses

The Blueflag Iris a valuable natural wetland species. This is especially due to the species’ affinity for areas that are typically lacking in pollen-bearing plants, making the iris one of the main resources for pollinators in these areas. They provide an essential food source for pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees.

Areas of Usage

Aside from its use as a pollinator food source, Blueflag Iris is typically used as an aesthetic flower to fill wet patches in gardens and adorn backyard ponds. Although parts of the plant are highly toxic, Indigenous Peoples used the dried rhizome of the Blueflag Iris as a medicinal to treat constipation, vomiting, liver problems and other ailments. It is also currently being used as a component of some perfumes. It should be noted however that if not properly dried, the plant can be very toxic.


As you scroll through our guides, you’ll notice some guides have more information or better photos than others. We are always looking to increase the quality and accessibility of our nature guides.

If you are interested in helping us improve these guides, whether through photos, research, writing or website development, then please contact us via phone: (902) 651-2575 or email: danielmcrae@macphailwoods.org

A big thank you to Jenna Marie Cahill for contributing this nature guide.

Upcoming Events

May
25
Sat
10:00 am Creating and Maintaining Hedgero...
Creating and Maintaining Hedgero...
May 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
This workshop will look at on creating diverse, beautiful and functional hedgerows and windbreaks using a variety of native plants. Participants will learn about which plants are best, spacing, planting and maintenance.
Jun
1
Sat
10:00 am Shelter-building for Kids
Shelter-building for Kids
Jun 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Take your fort-building skills to the next level! Get outside with the whole family and learn more about shelter do’s and don’ts and how to hang a tarp securely. Let your wild creativity fly by
Jun
8
Sat
10:00 am Plants of Prince Edward Island w...
Plants of Prince Edward Island w...
Jun 8 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Kate, one of the province’s foremost biologists, will focus on many of the plants, both native and non-native, that you commonly encounter, plus a look at lots of rare trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns. You
Jun
9
Sun
2:00 pm Debunking Forest-Wildlife Myths ...
Debunking Forest-Wildlife Myths ...
Jun 9 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
We are thrilled that Bob is coming over again from Nova Scotia. The well-known CBC Radio Noon guest and advocate for nature throughout the region will explore some of the myths surrounding forests and wildlife.
Jul
27
Sat
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 27 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief slideshow, we’ll head off to

Nursery Catalogue

Calendar of Events

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our Mailing List