There are some 300 species of iris that grow all over the temperate world. While some irises grow from bulbs, most typically are rhizomes - actually the stem of the plant, growing underground, branching out and dividing as they grow. Since a broken-off piece of rhizome sends up growth for a new plant, this makes irises really easy to propagate and share.
|Deep violet selection Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris|
|Unknown iris (I. fulva?) in foreground, red bearded in back - my garden|
All of these European and Asian beauties are fine, but what about trying our native American irises?
|Iris douglasiana on the Theodore Payne Foundation garden tour|
|Red-violet PCH iris|
Colors can be surprisingly varied - even nuanced, you might say, with subtle two-toned shadings of khaki, buff, lavender, plum and grey that would suit the taste of the most sophisticated designer.
The flower's form can be delicate and dancing, or beruffled and showy.
|Violet-and-white PCH iris in my garden|
|Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris "Canyon Snow"|
The word "iridescence" is derived from the word for iris - and the petals of the iris shimmer in the sunlight with a delicate iridescence.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris is the personification of the rainbow, and what better name to give this species of flowers, with their wide range of color?