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PlantFiles: Cemetery Iris, White Cemetery Iris, White Flag
Iris albicans

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: albicans (AL-bih-kanz) (Info)

Synonym:Iris x albicans

» View all varieties of Iris

28 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Extra early (EE)


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Awards (if applicable):
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sylviatexas On Apr 3, 2013, sylviatexas from Waxahachie, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I noticed the soil requirements indicate acidic soil is preferred;
iris albicans thrives in our very alkaline soil, whether in landscapes (it's very popular in xeriscapes) or unattended in old cemetaries.

It's the most robust iris I've ever seen;
I planted some last autumn in a sunny spot that hasn't been touched, except for the occasional lawnmower, for the last 55 years;
all of them survived, & 1 has a bloomstalk.

Positive themikeman On Jul 18, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

old fashioned simple 'white sweet iris', 'cemetery iris', or heirloom historic white single blooming iris, i have these growing along with some iris pallida 'violet-blue sweet iris' that smell like grape soda or laundry detergent. this white iris albicans[cemetary]variety, also has a bit of the silvery patina to the leaves like the violet-blue pallida iris variety does. It originally comes from yemen in the mountains of the arabian peninsula and is also grown in turkey, iran, egypt and eastern europe on the graves of fallen muslim soldiers and men,where it was planted by their mothers or widows. orthodox christian and jewish in eastern europe have since also become quite fond of it on grave sites for respect for deceased love ones, it was brought to the U.S almost 200 years ago where it thrives in many victorian gardens in the southestern US. It is always the Very First Iris to Bloom in my garden. Sometimes simple and old fashioned varieties are the most beautiful..peace. mike

Positive QueenB On Apr 13, 2005, QueenB from Shepherd, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This has been one of the easiest irises for me to grow. I received them as one big root-bound clump, divided them, then forgot about them in a box. They came back from the dead! (no pun intended) They've flourished since they've been put in the ground, blooming first the very next spring. They are ideal for drier areas of the yard where other irises might not be happy.

The buds will appear a very pale, icy-blue or gray color, but as the flower opens, it turns completely white. Typically, there are only two or three flowers per stem. Flowers last for 1-2 days.


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

Tuskegee, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Bismarck, Arkansas
Sonoma, California
Gainesville, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Echo, Louisiana
Pollock, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
West Monroe, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Raymond, Mississippi
Clinton, New York
Concord, North Carolina (2 reports)
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Desoto, Texas
Franklin, Texas
Iola, Texas
Kurten, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Marquez, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas
Willis, Texas

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