Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Zig Zag Iris
Iris brevicaulis

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: brevicaulis (brev-ee-KAW-liss) (Info)

Synonym:Iris foliosa
Synonym:Iris brevipes
Synonym:Iris flexicaulis
Synonym:Iris mississippiensis

» View all varieties of Iris

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14 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Light Blue
Medium Blue
Dark Blue
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Midseason (M)


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

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 rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

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

Awards (if applicable):
Unknown - Tell us

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive david3payne On Apr 15, 2013, david3payne from Lubbock, TX wrote:

Gathered from Wabash River flood plain, Wabash Co., IL; planted by street-side ditch, 431 E. 8th, Mt. Carmel, IL, ca. 1957; transplanted to swampy backyard, Kingwood, Tx, 1989; transplanted 530 miles n.e., and 3000 feet higher, to Lubbock, TX, ca. 1995. Lubbock Iris Society members delight in its beauty and hardiness.

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 24, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I. brevicaulis is the shortest and the broadest of the five natural species of Louisiana iris, with its flowers "borne from near the base and always amid the foilage, never above the foilage," (The Louisiana Iris--The Taming of a Native American Wildflower, second edition by The Society for Louisiana Irises). It was found naturally growing in dryer conditions than the other four species, in pastures and prairies that were often wet during the growing season. The oldest known Louisiana iris, a pink variant of I. brevicaulis named 'Pink Joy Roberts,' was supposedly collected over 150 years ago

I. brevicaulis was found growing extensively from South Louisiana all the way up the Mississippi River Valley to the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. Its flowers are generally blue, and rarely pure white, with the top (terminal) flowers two-flowered, and the flowers along the stem also often two-flowered. The plant is quite cold hardy, blooming late in Louisiana in mid-May. As of the year 2000 there are still wild colonies of I. breviacaulis doing well in "moist bluff areas."

Positive dogbane On Nov 23, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of the parent species of the'Louisiana Iris', this species easily hybridizes with I. fulva, I. nelsonii, and I. giganticaerulea. One of its most distinguishing features is the zig-zag bends of the flower stalks.

A well behaved perennial which proliferates under favorable garden conditions from pond gardens to perennial borders. Grows well far outside of its native range. (gulf coast).

Flowers attract hummers and bees and range in the blue end of the spectrum.


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

Iowa City, Iowa
New Orleans, Louisiana
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
Saucier, Mississippi
Austin, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas

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