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Blue Flag Iris

( Iris versicolor )

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Blue Flag Iris
Wild Iris
Northern Blue Flag
Harlequin Blue Flag
Iridaceae
Iris
Iris versicolor
Linnaeus
SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PE, NS, NL, NL, NU
Characteristics

Aquatic

Deciduous

Sun, Partial Shade

Moist, Wet

No

No

No

No
Habitat Considerations

Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Mixedwood Plains, Prairies

Wet Meadow/Prairie/Field, Swamp/Marsh, Bog/Fen, Fresh Water Aquatic

Pond Edge/Wetland Garden, Bird, Prairie/Meadow
Design Considerations

60 cm

90 cm

May - Aug

Blue|Purple

Yes

No

Amber|Brown




No

No

Yes

No

Hummingbirds, Bees

No
Conservation Status



Interesting Tidbits

Iris versicolor is now rare in the wild in Manitoba, but is available in native nurseries. (Prairie Habitats Inc.) POISONOUS to livestock. Poisonous Parts: Rhizomes (thickened roots) and rootstocks, fresh or dry. Minor skin irritation when touched, low toxicity if ingested. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, elevated temperature following ingestion; skin irritation upon contact with seeds, rootstock, or cell sap. Toxic Principle: Irisin, iridin, or irisine. The rhizome of the Blue Flag is poisonous, but was used by colonists, with guidance from Indian people, for various healing purposes. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Through the years, iris flowers have symbolized power, with the three parts representing wisdom, faith and courage. (Kershaw) Irises have been used medicinally in the past, but their rootstocks are dangerously poisonous. Some tribes used the two outermost fibres of the leaves to spin strong, very fine, highly esteemed twine. Powdered iris root, called orris, smells like violets and has been added to perfume and potpourri. (Kershaw) Irises, not lilies, are the flowers that are stylized as the fleur-de-lys emblem, first of the French monarchy, and today of the province of Quebec. (Harris, Marjorie, 2003. Botanica North America) Muskrats do eat the root stock. (USDA)


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