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Blue Flag

Iris versicolor

Blue flag has violet-blue flowers that gradually narrow toward the center of the flower. (Bob Gutowski/Flickr)
Blue flag has violet-blue flowers that gradually narrow toward the center of the flower. (Bob Gutowski/Flickr)

Blue flag is a native perennial plant with delicate violet flowers that bloom in spring.

Appearance:

Blue flag has violet-blue flowers with delicate, arching petals that gradually narrow toward the center of the flower. Its petals have purple veins and a white and yellow base. Flowers bloom May to June. Its leaves are long and grass-like. Blue flag grows to 3 feet tall.

Habitat:

Found in wetlands, marshes, swamps, wet meadows, shorelines, stream banks and other wet areas. Grows in full to partial sun.

Range:

Grows throughout most of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, except in West Virginia.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

After blooming, flowers mature into a greenish-brown seed capsule. Seed capsules eventually split open, allowing seeds to scatter. Blue flag also reproduces asexually when underground rhizomes spread.

Other Facts:

  • Blue flag attracts bees and hummingbirds.
  • The roots and rhizomes of irises are extremely poisonous to humans and animals.
  • Native American tribes used irises medicinally. Some tribes also used the outermost fibers of the leaves to create twine.
  • Powdered iris root smells like violets and can be found in some perfumes and potpourri.

Sources and Additional Information:




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