Lee Valley & Veritas Gardening
Lee Valley 35 Years  
  Volume 8, Issue 5 - May 2013    
Interesting Read
Excerpt from The Wildflowers of Canada, Algrove Publishing, 2001.



Perennial, whole plant smooth; rootstocks contracted at the nodes; stems rather stout; leaves quite long, equitant, mostly clustered at the base of the stem; flowers on short peduncles, large, blue; the three outer divisions of the perianth variegated with yellow, spreading.

Blue flag is one of those hardy flowers that do not hide their beauty in the darkness of woods, but parade it, as if conscious of it, in the broad light of open meadows. We may well forgive a certain lack of modesty in so handsome a plant. None of the cultivated flags can surpass this native species in beauty and grace of form. Some of our native species have the petals prettily bearded, but in the blue flag, they are masked.

Iris versicolor grows from Canada south to the Gulf. It is quite a common plant throughout its range, probably opening its showy flowers in May or June. The root of the blue flag is strongly astringent, forming the basis of several nostrums in high repute among country folk.

Blue Flag. Iris Versicolor. (Iris Family.)

The pretty name, Iris, is that of the attendant of Juno who personified the rainbow. The wealth of color displayed by these flowers well merits the name. They are veritable rainbows of the earth. Versicolor means "of varied colors." So the generic and specific names express pretty much the same idea.

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