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Blackberry Lily, Leopard Lily

Iris domestica

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: domestica (doh-MESS-tik-a) (Info)
Synonym:Belamcanda chinensis
» View all varieties of Iris
View this plant in a garden


Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:




Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Awards (if applicable):

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

, (4 reports)

Arley, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Piedmont, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Barling, Arkansas

Bigelow, Arkansas

Paris, Arkansas

Elk Grove, California

Encinitas, California

Fremont, California

Merced, California

Sacramento, California

Vista, California

Denver, Colorado

Oxford, Connecticut

Washington, District Of Columbia

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Chiefland, Florida

Dade City, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jensen Beach, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Longwood, Florida

Malabar, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Barnesville, Georgia

Norcross, Georgia

Anna, Illinois

Belleville, Illinois

Braidwood, Illinois

Divernon, Illinois

Macomb, Illinois

Mapleton, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Nilwood, Illinois

North Aurora, Illinois

Olive Branch, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Saint Joseph, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Anderson, Indiana

Brownsville, Indiana

Greenville, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Atlantic, Iowa

Bettendorf, Iowa

Clinton, Iowa

Nichols, Iowa

Independence, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Hanson, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky (3 reports)

Somerset, Kentucky

Minden, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pikesville, Maryland

Rising Sun, Maryland

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Boyne Falls, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

Garden City, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Saint Clair Shores, Michigan

Kasota, Minnesota

La Crescent, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mora, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Byhalia, Mississippi

Florence, Mississippi

Indianola, Mississippi

Madison, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Olive Branch, Mississippi

Rolla, Missouri

Saint Robert, Missouri

Warsaw, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Lincoln, Nebraska (2 reports)

Auburn, New Hampshire

Litchfield, New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire

Sandown, New Hampshire

Manahawkin, New Jersey

New Milford, New Jersey

Roswell, New Mexico

Averill Park, New York

Barryville, New York

Cicero, New York

Hilton, New York

Concord, North Carolina

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina (3 reports)

Snow Hill, North Carolina

Barberton, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)

Cleveland, Ohio

Corning, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Yukon, Oklahoma

Dallas, Oregon

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Pennsburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Pendleton, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Lafayette, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Allen, Texas

Arlington, Texas (2 reports)

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Bulverde, Texas

Flower Mound, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Hempstead, Texas

Houston, Texas

Leander, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Rye, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Barre, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont

Alexandria, Virginia

Earlysville, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Linden, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Langley, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Cabin Creek, West Virginia

Prichard, West Virginia

Appleton, Wisconsin

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Grafton, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 18, 2014, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

The orchid-like appearance of these spotted blossoms makes them a welcome addition to a sunny border. When I placed a clump near a birdbath, the extra wetness in that area caused the Belamcanda to suffer and eventually rot. The second patch in a much drier and sunnier area is thriving with little effort on my part. I saved seeds and planted handfuls of them in a low wide pot. They germinated en masse and were moved to a holding bed to gain size and strength. I usually see blooms in the second summer for seedlings. Roots are a curious shade of orange. Dried seedpods make attractive arrangements.


On Jul 13, 2014, Amargia from SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The botanical name for this plant has been changed to Iris Domestica as the result of DNA research.


On Jul 12, 2014, lynndd from Indianola, MS wrote:

It grew from seed given by a friend. Grows in spite of bad soil and location. Blooms here in early July.


On Nov 14, 2013, JenDion from Litchfield, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Love them! Undemanding in full sun with rich soil. Leaves add structure, flowers seem to float above them, and the seed pods are fantastic! a great summer/fall plant!


On Sep 19, 2013, gammaneetz from Garden City, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Nice plant in the front of my south facing bed. Have collected the seeds and am going to try to start them in my greenhouse area this winter.


On Sep 6, 2012, BStreuli from SAUNDERSTOWN, RI wrote:

A friend of mine brought me blackberry lily seeds from Monticello. They germinated; I planted the seedlings in my garden late last summer and then this spring I moved them to their permanent place. They were lovely when they bloomed though some of them did flop over. I do have one question: should I cut back the leaves as one would do with an iris?


On Jul 1, 2012, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant can be found growing as a garden escape around Franklin County, Pennsylvania. It seems to prefer sunny locations with well drained (a.k.a. dry rocky) soil. There is a particularly large population growing around an old, abandoned limestone quarry near where I live. I dug up some of the plants and gave them to an uncle who lives in South Carolina, and he now has them all over his yard.


On Jul 17, 2011, marti001 from Somerset, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I found this growing along a back road that was being widened and dug it up last year. I wasn't sure of what it was but like the iris looking leaves and planted it in my garden. This year it bloomed and I finally found out what it is. It did well in the garden,went dormant thru the winter and is now almost 2 feet tall. There is actually 2 plants, so when I move back to Calif I will try taking one of them with me.


On Apr 9, 2011, in2art from Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I got a (plant) start from a friend. The flowers are nice, but not stunning or particularly showy. The seeds resemble a blackberry (hence the name, I'm certain). The first year, I carefully collected all the seed...year two...nothing! I sowed the seed back and year three had plants again. In my zone, it definitely needs to reseed; so if you don't want it to spread, I think deadheading would prevent it.


On Jan 3, 2011, oahuhiker from Honolulu, HI wrote:

Quote per Wikipedia (disclaimer - experimentation with medicinal plant use can be risky or deadly):

Iris domestica (leopard lily)

The dried rhizome has long been used in East Asia to treat throat troubles, asthma, swollen liver and spleen, gonorrhea, malaria, and arrow poisoning.[citation needed] The leopard lily is a flowering perennial of Chinese origin and is locally used in Chinese villages for its medicinal values. Currently, studies are underway to investigate its apparent potential against prostate cancer.[2]


On Nov 7, 2010, plushweasels from Braidwood, IL wrote:

Nice little flowers, however it spreads like crazy, and is difficult to remove. The birds have dropped seeds and I have new plants about 30 feet away in my rose bed.


On Sep 29, 2010, smurfwv from Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

I started this from seed, is PlantFiles correct when they say its hardy in zone 6a? I'm in southern WV and would like to know if it needs to be dug up.


On Sep 3, 2009, floating_stump from Grafton, WI wrote:

My plant grew to over five feet tall in its second year, and has doubled the number of stems. I stake the taller of the blooming stems. I've got it in fairly rich soil, and I water reasonably often. Make sure they get watered evenly, or the leaves can get wrinkly. It blooms from late July to early September.


On Jul 21, 2009, ttec from Owenton, KY wrote:

I live in northern Kentucky. And me and a friend was horseback riding. And came across the Blackberry Lily. And there use to be a old house on this farm. So we just thought that is was planted. But I looked in up on Wildflowers of Kentucky. And there it was! We have been riding this trail for a year or so and never noticed it before. So we think that a bird must have brought this awesome flower! Needless to say, I dug it up and planted it at my house. I hope it survives the transplant. So this flower has been spotted in Kentucky!


On Nov 1, 2008, klstuart from Simpsonville, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Had a version of this called "Parks Candy Lily" . I let it go to seed, and apparently the birds like it, and deliver it all over the yard. The next year I had them everywhere! Forms tough clumps and multiplies like crazy. I dug all mine up, and still have them popping up everywhere! Flowers are really cute and unusual though, if you want a yard-full!


On Apr 28, 2008, gapchwillow from Macomb, IL wrote:

I moved in late November, 2006 - too late to get any transplants in the ground.
I wanted to start these plants in my new landscape and so over-wintered them in a container in my insulated garage. I planted them outside in the spring and they did well. Have not seen any self-seeded new plants, but the clump is multiplying at a nice rate, not invasive.


On Jun 23, 2007, lee_ro from Raleigh, NC wrote:

I came across this plant at a nursery last year and thought the flowers to be exotic and interesting. I was told it was called a "Candy Lily" (but it's in the Iris family) and quickly bought it to add to my garden. Each flower lasted a day but was quickly replaced by a new one. The beautiful red speckled orange flowers contrasted nicely with healthy, sword-shaped leaves. Bloomed into fall.

This year it has come back up with what looked to be healthy foliage, thus far (June 23rd) there is no sign of budding. I walked by it the other day and noticed a big stem broken off the plant-- I don't know if the neighborhood landscapers got a little carried away and broke it off while weed-wacking or if there's something more pestilent at hand... after I cleared the fallen stem a... read more


On Feb 25, 2007, rebecca30 from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I was given 2-3 small potted transplants about 2-3 years ago from a friend in a plant club. They have done very well in the full sun and have multiplied steadily but not out of control. I usually collect the seeds after they have dried on the plant and spread them around in the bare dirt. A few will come up the following year. I have now collected seeds from my original clump to start a new clump elsewhere on my property, of course from seed. We'll see what comes up this year. :)


On Jan 5, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Blackberry Lily, Leopard Lily Belamcanda chinensis is Naturalized in Texas and other States.


On Jan 3, 2007, pegzhere from Bettendorf, IA wrote:

These aren't particularly pretty in my opinion. Flowers are small and not very showy or long lived. They are impossible to get rid of as well.


On Sep 8, 2006, mxpg from Appleton, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Backberry Lily has grown great for me here in Wisconsin. I planted it 5 yrs ago and didn't mulch at all. It has seeded its self to the surrounding area which is fine with me. One even popped up through my patio bricks. The flowers are a nice pop of color and the folliage is great too. Really easy to grow. Sun & Water is all it gets and it performs great.


On Jan 16, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

The flowers and the seed heads are interesting, but not particularly showy. I think they would look better in a bigger, thicker planting. They have a tendency to flop. My information says they are hardy in zones 4-11. Blooms July-August in my garden, with September seed heads.


On Aug 2, 2005, Alchris from Edmonton, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

I have grown this from seed in Zone 3A (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) without any winter protection for 3 years. The lily did get continuous snow cover throughout winter. It is just coming into flower now. It is spindly and about 18 inches tall.

I planted it in moisture retentive clay soil that is slightly acidic. The lily receives morning sun but is shaded in the afternoons. This is the last one of 3 that were planted at the same time.

Under the circumstances I think that I will be providing mulch this coming winter as I never expected the lily to survive.


On Jul 11, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I was very pleased with this planted in groups, very easy to grow from seed!


On Jul 3, 2005, navig8rs from Alexandria, VA wrote:

Bloomed beatifully the second year from seed. My wife used the mature seed pods for an interesting arrangement in the fall, which I stripped of the seeds when she was done with them. Despite harvesting the pods, a few seeds must have escaped, because this year (the third), there are seven or eight volunteers in addition the the original ten plants. Not only that, but every year the whole stand gets thicker and the plants stockier. Bloom time for me has been continuously from the beginning of July until the weather cools in September. I highly recommend blackberry lillies if you want a cheerful, carefree flower for a sunny spot that's a bit dry for the average ornamental.


On Oct 4, 2004, shallum from Oakville
Canada wrote:

I grew my original belamcandas from seed three years ago; since have grown more from harvested seed. Never removed the fleshy 'berry' around the seed and have never had a problem. Simply store in the refrigerator for abouit 2 months before sowing. Beautiful, airy plants with structural foliage throughout the growing season and dramatic fruits in the fall.


On Aug 13, 2004, guyb from Levis, Quebec, Canada
Canada wrote:

This particular plant is easy to grown in colder climates as Quebec city, Qubec, Canada (Zone 4) without winter protection. It blooms here in first days of august. Dry locations don't seem to promote the blooms. No pests or disease observed. Excuse my english...


On Jul 9, 2004, Cheryl_IL from (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant is listed as a poisonous plant of North Carolina. The berries (seeds) are toxic. It spreads and looks sloppy, and the scapes are heavy and sometimes lean over, but I enjoy being able to divide it and share it every year. I've also had several seedlings pop up in my zone 5b/6 garden. It gets a good amount of sun from the west.


On Jul 3, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I recently picked up a packet of seeds and thought I'd check here before planting...am in Hawaii, zone 11 and will update after I see what happens and rate then. packet says "medicinal", anyone know what it's medicine for, or what part of plant?


On Apr 2, 2004, dennyb wrote:

I am in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Planted from seed. In 3rd year of blooming. Very hardy in front yard garden which is shaded until about 2pm in the afternoon. Plants have grown to between 2 and 3 feet. Lots of blooms. Foliage is beautiful green and I do not cut back during the winter rather prefering to leave intact to protect the base of the plant from the cold and frost. Seed pods break open early winter and remain intact until Spring. Makes a beautiful backdrop to the white snow! Very, very easy to grow from seed. Have mixed in with Stargazer Lilys and Astible. Great show !!


On Jan 10, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am responding to all the concerns about this plant's frost hardiness. I have had these plants growing here in Missouri without any protection or special care for about 16 years. I have never lost any plants, and I don't water them, feed them, spray them or stake them. They are about the most indestructible and carefree plant I have ever grown. I have some in both shade and sun and am pleased with both. The temps here get down to zero or below every year, sometimes staying in the teens and twenties for weeks at a time, and rarely a snow cover to help protect the plants. Mine are planted in poor, rocky, clay soil. Maybe for once that helps!


On Jan 9, 2004, medicineman from depoe bay, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Blackberry lilly, plant thrives in the shade of trees here in the hot spells in South Texas. Has wintered over 2 years with minimal preperation. (we have 3 or 4 frosts)
This is a Traditional Chinese Medicine plant.
(Root is listed as a drug in 1985 chinese pharmacopeia.)
But like most of the Iris family it can be considered toxic.
Seed was taken from China in 1730's to England, To North America by late 19th century.



On Sep 30, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I've grown blackberry lily for years, and have enjoyed it upright, or swooping out from under a Plumbago, growing through a Rapheolepis, or anywhere it cares to grow. It does not self seed as much as all those seeds would make you think. I usually deadhead the first and second sets of pods to encourage more blooming, then let the last ones ripen, when I want seeds. The plants are pretty easy to transplant and don't seem to mind living in a pot -- the one I have currently waited nearly a year to be planted. Here in central Florida they seem to be perfectly root hardy. We might get three frosts a winter. When not frosted, these try really hard to be evergreen and often succeed.


On Sep 28, 2003, carterm3 from Pensacola, FL wrote:

A great plant that grows like crazy here in Pensacola. I am anxious to plant the seeds and share with fellow gardeners. My plants have bloomed all summer and it appears they will keep on until the first frost. Great for an Iris related family member in NW Florida.


On Sep 26, 2003, eje from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Handsome sword leaved plant. Started several from seed in January and had blooms in August-September of the first year. Flowers are pretty; but, fold up after one day. I've found it's leaves seem to be tasty to just about every variety of pest from aphids to cats. Damage doesn't seem to bother the plant much, though. It just keeps growing. I did end up staking it, as the main stems were a bit floppy.


On Aug 4, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

My plant was too floppy to add much to the garden. It was in a SE exposure, but maybe needed more sun.


On Jul 9, 2003, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very easy to grow. I grew in the Mid-Atlantic. Attractive flowers AND foliage...Adds a tropical note to the garden. Propagated easily by seeds, and division...Grows well in many soils and conditions....bothered by few to no pests or diseases..
Seed is ripe when the pods start to split open and or the pods are brown.... and the seeds are shiny black.... :)


On Nov 30, 2002, trillium_girl from Penfield, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've had this plant self seed itself. I noticed a clump of about 12-15 grass-like shoots. I separated them and planted in pots. They grew to about 8 inches. I put them in the garden this fall. I live in zone 6 near Lake Ontario in Western NY and it has survived for 3 years in light shade. It blooms here in mid summer but the blooms are shortlived.


On Nov 29, 2002, FL_Gator from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have grown this plant in two different climates, Zone 5b KY and Zone 8b FL, and have been pleased with it in both. The bloom season in Florida is much longer.


On Jun 18, 2001, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

The dried seed heads are highly prized for dried arrangements - look just like Blackberries.


On Jun 17, 2001, CARRIGAN from Milford, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

Winter hardy to Zone 5. Though it looks like a lily it is really an Iris. Blooms in July of the second year when started from seed. Shiny black seeds follow the flower in September. Tubers from mature plants transplant easily. Short lived perennial. Plant seed 1/4" deep in 65 to 75 degree soil. Germination in 7-14 days, thin plants 8 - 12" apart. Prefers full sun and average moisture. Sow seed in garden after danger of frost or can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting outside. Can also be sown outside, up to 2 months before the last fall frost. Root is potentially toxic.

WATERING TIPS. During germination, keep entire seedbed evenly moist. Keep well-watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings.

HARVESTING TIPS. For root... read more


On Nov 10, 2000, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant grows to 2'-3' tall. The leaves look like iris leaves. The flowers look like lilies, them come in a range of colors of red, orange, yellow, cream and shades in between. They are usually spotted with a darker color. When the seed pods open the clusters of seeds look like blackberries. Sometimes a short lived perennial.
Best cultivated in sun, low tolerance to frost/cold. Propagate by division or seed. Hardy zones 7/8-11.