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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)


Alpines and Rock Gardens

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.