Wild Irises of Texas

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Monday, April, 14 2014 02:23:03 am   , 320 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 37382 views

To me some of the most spectacular wildflowers are irises, which are now blooming throughout this coastal area of Texas along the banks of rivers, streams, and lakes, especially small shallow bodies of water commonly called flag ponds.

According to the website The Biota of North America Program, Texas has five native species of wild iris (often called "flags") growing wild in many parts of the state. The native North American species growing wild in Texas are the following:

  • Iris brevicaulis (also known as the Zigzag Iris)
  • Iris fulva (commonly called the Copper Iris or Red Flag)
  • Iris giganticaerulea (known as the Giant Blue Iris or Giant Blue Flag)
  • Iris virginica (also called the Great Blue Flag or Southern Blue Flag)
  • Iris x flexicaulis (sometimes called Iris hexagona var. flexicaulis or Iris flexicaulis, an apparently naturally-occurring cross of brevicaulis and giganticaerulea)

Barbara Medford, writing for the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center lists only four Texas natives: "Iris brevicaulis (zigzag iris), Iris fulva (copper iris), Iris hexagona (Dixie iris), and Iris virginica (Virginia iris)."  Problematic for me is that the bonap site page on irises shows the Dixie iris as native to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Medford does not list the Giant Blue Iris as a Texas native. Also, if Iris x flexicaulis is not related to the Dixie Iris, should they both be called Iris hexagona?  (Confusing! And why I am showing pictures here of the irises that have been growing on the slough I live on, with no attempt made to identify them by scientific or even common names.)

Texas also has an Old World species, Iris pseudacorus (referred to as the yellow flag, yellow iris, or water flag), growing wild, as do many other states. These exotics are growing also on the slough. They were brought here from a neighboring slough where they were growing wild.










Comment from: caroline [Member]  
CarolineThese are beautiful flowers; I like the diffences compared to bearded irises. I wonder if I could transplant these to my gardens? What sort of soil do they require?
04/16/14 @ 00:34
Comment from: Kimberly [Visitor]
KimberlySome of the cultivars of irises are done with the intent of increasing the bloom size. I have some breaded irises that are prone to bending and breaking; especially during rain storms. These wild irises prove that bigger is not always better as they are very pretty.
04/16/14 @ 00:51
Comment from: Alyse [Visitor]
AlyseIris giganticaerulea is not a native of Texas. According to the USDA plant list (http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=IRGI), this iris is only found in Louisiana.
03/10/15 @ 15:58
Comment from: T. F. [Visitor]
T. F.I have recently discovered a patch of small irises (about 13 cm tall) in my backyard (in Westlake area of Austin, Texas), which I never planted. I dug one up, and, to my surprise, it did not grow from a corm or rhizome, but from a bulb (The bulb measures around 2 cm long). It was in the process of blooming, but the flower hadn't opened yet, and all of the surrounding kin had already lost their petals. I did get a look at the unopened bud, though. It was about 3 cm long, color was mainly a periwinkle-blue with a central yellow stripe. I'm wondering if it is the species I. reticulata, and if so, if it's native to the Westlake area. Help would be appreciated. Thanks.
04/09/18 @ 15:13

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