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Iris versicolor is often confused with:
Iris pseudacorus Form
Iris tridentata Form
Iris virginica Iris virginica
Native alternative(s) for Iris versicolor:
Iris tridentata Form
Iris virginica Iris virginica
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Iris virginica Iris virginica
Iris hexagona Iris hexagona
Iris laevigata Iris laevigata bordering a pond or stream
Iris versicolor has some common insect problems:
Aphids on Ornamental Landscape Plants

Harlequin Blueflag Iris versicolor

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-riss VER-suh-kuh-lor
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Larger blue flag iris, is a perennial in the Iridaceae (iris) family native to Canada and the United States spanning south from Nova Scotia into the middle and northeastern United States to Virginia. The specific epithet, versicolor, is derived from this plant's ability to produce many-colored blooms while the common name, "flag", comes from an old English word (flagge) for reeds and refers to its natural preference to wetlands.

It prefers to grow in rich, moist soils and thrives in full sun while it tolerates partial shade.  Plants can be grown in up to 4 inches of standing fresh water.

The sword shaped blue-green clumping leaves reach 2 to 2.5 feet tall topped with a mass of blue lavender to white blooms. The blooms are formed of three upright inner standards and three distinctly marked sepals or falls.  The leaves are narrow and strap-like 1 inch wide and up to 24 inches long crossing at the base to be fan-like.  Though the fruit forms as a capsule, this plant propagates best by division of the rhizomes after blooms fade.  Prune back the leaves after the first frost to just above the crown.

Grow in containers in ponds or other water gardens in up to 4 inches of standing water. It is most happy in wet areas of pond margins, wet meadows, and marshy areas where it multiplies naturally forming clumps.  It tolerates browsing by deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids, iris borer, iris thrips.  Disease problems include blossom or leaf blight,  baterial soft rot, crown rot, rhizome rot, leaf spot, and mosaic virus.  

More information on Iris.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Pond and Stream
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#water garden#purple flowers#blue flowers#low maintenance#wetlands#standing water tolerant#pond margins#cpp#deer resistant#blue-green leaves#swamps#ponds#large flowers#border planting#cutting garden#wildflower garden#marshes#flowers early summer#wet soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#flood tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#water garden#purple flowers#blue flowers#low maintenance#wetlands#standing water tolerant#pond margins#cpp#deer resistant#blue-green leaves#swamps#ponds#large flowers#border planting#cutting garden#wildflower garden#marshes#flowers early summer#wet soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#flood tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Iris
    Species:
    versicolor
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Eastern Canada to North Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Play Value:
    Colorful
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-several at the top of a naked stem, 6-parted with 3 outer, spreading or pendent "falls" and 3 inner, erect "standards", variously colored The large 4-inch flowers bloom in late spring to early summer with several (3-5) on a naked stalk of up to 30 inches.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Blue green sword-like leaves 2 feet long and 1 inch wide, entire margins, they stand upright or arch slightly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Pond
    Riparian
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Nausea, salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, elevated temperature following ingestion; skin irritation upon contact with seeds, rootstock, or cell sap. Highest concentration in rhizomes.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Pentacylic terpenoids (zeorin, missourin and missouriensin), Irisin, iridin, or irisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds