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Iris missouriensis

Iris missouriensis

Iris missouriensis

Iris missouriensis (Wild Iris)
Iridaceae (Iris) Family

Foothills, montane, subalpine.  Wetlands, meadows, openings.  Late spring/early summer.
Navajo Lake Trail, June 25, 2005 and Lizard Head Trail, June, 17, 2013.

Wild Iris is a perfectly shaped miniature domesticated Iris.  Wild Iris typically has leaves and flower stalk about a foot tall, but it is not uncommon to find Iris growing to two feet tall.  Flowers are typically about three inches in diameter.  As is true of many flowers, Iris color variations exist, but in our area the range is confined to shades of blue/purple with a rare white flower. 

Wild Iris is most often found in extensive patches in moist meadows from the foothills to the mountains, but it also grows solitary in open moist woods.  It is common (and at first puzzling) to find Iris blooming in dry meadows in June; these meadows were certainly moist from snow-melt in April and early May.  The duration of Iris missouriensis flowering is determined by the amount of late spring snow and early summer rain.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753 and the species was named by Thomas Nuttall in 1834 from a specimen collected by his friend Nathaniel Wyeth "towards the sources of the Missouri" (as quoted in Intermountain Flora).  "Iris" was the Greek goddess of the rainbow and "missouriensis" refers to the river.

Iris missouriensis
Iris missouriensis (Wild Iris)
Iridaceae (Iris) Family

Foothills, montane, subalpine.  Wetlands, meadows, openings.  Late spring/early summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 17, 2004.

Flower colors vary with soils, rainfall, and, of course, genetics.

Iris missouriensis
Iris missouriensis (Wild Iris)
Iridaceae (Iris) Family

Foothills, montane, subalpine.  Wetlands, meadows, openings.  Late spring/early summer.
Lizard Head Trail, August 22, 2007.

Chunky, lumpy Iris seed pods certainly contrast with the delicate flowers.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Iris missouriensis