Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Widow Iris, Snake's Head Iris
Hermodactylus tuberosus

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hermodactylus (her-mo-DAK-ty-lus) (Info)
Species: tuberosus (too-ber-OH-sus) (Info)

Synonym:Iris tuberosa

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Pale Green
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative pokerino On Mar 16, 2012, pokerino from Little Rock, AR wrote:

It's been invasive in my garden, spreading into many of the areas where my species tulips are planted and last year it somehow jumped the driveway. It blooms early but the green and black flowers don't make much of a display and are partially hidden by the lush foliage. It might make an interesting cut flower but after being cut it lasts little more than a day.

Positive soilsandup On Mar 13, 2006, soilsandup from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is one of the first plants to bloom in my yard - ususally in February. An interesting plant - one drawback is that the flower snaps off easily so it is not the best to use for cut flowers. Spreads easily, but not to the point where it is invasive, yet anyways.

Neutral Baa On Aug 30, 2001, Baa wrote:

Tuberous perennial from Southern Europe to North Africa via Turkey.

Has long stap like bluish green leaves up to 20 inches long.

Flowers are like small Iris' and are pale green with a black/brown lower petal.

Likes dry banks and can be naturalised in grass.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Little Rock, Arkansas (2 reports)
Antioch, California
Felton, California
Sacramento, California
Charlotte, North Carolina
Tangent, Oregon

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