- Common Name(s):
- Crested dwarf iris, Iris
- Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Poisonous Plants, Wildflowers
Iris cristata, commonly called dwarf crested iris, is a low-growing, rapidly spreading plant that typically grows to 3-6” tall. It spreads quickly and forms dense colonies in optimum growing conditions. Native from Maryland to Oklahoma south to Georgia and Mississippi. When in flower, a well-developed bed can produce a spectacular drift of blue color.
Iris cristata is an example of the beautiful native species of Iris that grow in North Carolina. Most are subtly beautiful rather than the striking, large bright German or bearded iris, but are desirable in perennial and native plant gardens. It is an excellent plant for early spring bloom in a shaded area of the rock garden, perennial border or woodland garden. Its foliage forms a nice groundcover for woodland areas. May also be used as a seasonal ground cover or edger.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont
Seasons of Interest:
Blooms: Spring Nut/Fruit/Seed: Summer
Wildlife Value: This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer. Its flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and bumblebees.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Snails and slugs can be a significant problem.
- Perennial herbs from a rhizome or bulb; leaves strap-like, overlapping at base, oriented in one plane; flowers 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; fruit a capsule.
- 6-12 in.
- Flower Color:
- USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9
- Crested dwarf iris has narrow, sword-shaped, yellowish-green to medium green leaves (to 6” long) which arise from a network of branching rhizomes. Short leaves on flower stalk tend to be curved. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin.
- Crested dwarf iris features pale blue, lilac or lavender iris flowers with gold crests on the falls. The flowers are borne on very short stems, often appearing nearly stemless. Lavender sepals have a pubescent, fluted yellow crest in the white area near the base.
- Herbaceous perennial
- Rich woods
- Division in fall, seed
- Partial shade to shade
- Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
- Eastern USA, North Carolina
- Poison Part:
- Rhizomes (thickened roots) and rootstocks, fresh or dry.
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Ingestion, dermatitis.
- 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.
- CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES.
- Found in:
- Houseplant or interiorscape; forest or natural area in native woodlands, marshes, and shallow water; landscape in flower gardens
- Life Cycle:
NCCES plant id: 730