Iris Versicolor L.
Information courtesy of Magna Vista High School students
Iris versicolor is part of the Iris genus. The word versicolor means variously colored. The person who named this plant was Andrew Murray, who discovered it in 1936. The common names that are used for this plant are the blue flag, Harlequin blueflag, larger blueflag, northern blueflag and poison blueflag. The family of this plant is iridaceae, and 2 common plants that are in the same family are the blue-eyed grass and the gladiolus. This species of iris is native to North America, and can be found in Eastern United States and Eastern Canada. It is also common in several midwest and northeast states. It is mostly found in marshes, swamps, wet meadows and along shorelines. The Iris versicolor is a clump-forming iris with light to deep blue violet petals. It reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes, It blooms early May to late July.
Its pollinators are native bees. Hummingbirds, beneficial insects, and butterflies are also associated with the Iris versicolor. This plant is also a rain garden plant that functions as a natural filters to help improve water quality and wildlife habitats. The Iris versicolor helps reduce erosion and stabilize soil, it also keeps rabbits and deer away. Fresh Iris leaves can be used externally for burns and sores. Native Americans even used the root for dropsy and as a cathartic. This root is an official drug that is a powdered extractive with diuretic properties. There is a book on this plant called, “The Fruiting of the Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)” by James G. Needham, Insect pollination and pollen from this plant.