Sep 25, 2009

Iris plant

Iris is a genus of between 200–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name; for one thing, it refers to all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. In North America, a common name for irises is flags, while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as junos, particularly in horticulture. It is a popular garden flower in the United States.

The genera Belamcanda (blackberry lily), Hermodactylus (snake's head iris), Neomarica (walking iris) and Pardanthopsis are sometimes included in Iris.

The genus is widely distributed throughout the north temperate zone. Their habitats are considerably varied, ranging from cold and montane regions to the grassy slopes, meadowlands and riverbanks of Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, Asia and across North America.

A wild Iris prefers the wet soil of the flats during the Spring and the periodic rainfalls during the summer making the climate in Alaska, USA ideal for the wild Iris flowers. The sepals on the wild Iris are deeply veined with a yellow white signal and the petals never exceed the base of the sepals.

The Eklutna flats are tidal influenced wetlands and the wild Iris grows to be about 60 centimeters in height. With this mass of flowers growing to these heights, the landscape of the flats is extremely colorful during the Spring.

Wild Iris (Iris setosa) in full bloom in bright sun on flats near Eklutna, Alaska, in June.

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