Species Iris, Alaska Flag, Beach Flag, Wild Dwarf Iris, Hairy Iris, Arctic Iris

Iris setosa

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: setosa (set-OH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Iris arctica
Synonym:Iris brachycuspis
Synonym:Iris brevicuspis
Synonym:Iris interior
Synonym:Iris yedoensis
» View all varieties of Iris


Species (SPEC)


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Midseason (MLa)



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Kenai, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Harwinton, Connecticut

Venus, Florida

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts

Hibbing, Minnesota

Hammonton, New Jersey

Massena, New York


Poulsbo, Washington

Sundance, Wyoming

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 24, 2003, pigeon1943 from Harwinton, CT wrote:

my wild blue flag iris is so much better and more productive than the domesticated kind, which is smaller, and blooms quickly, than stops. I love this wild variety - please see my pix...


On Aug 28, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Living in North Florida, zone 8b, I have never seen an Iris setosa, but I have seen many of its natural children, Iris versicolor, which will grow as far down as the Coastal South of the US, so I am quite interested in this species.

Iris setosa is the least dependent on wet conditions and has one of the widest native distributions of all the iris. It grows from Eastern Siberia, to Japan, then over the Bering Strait to Alaska, and then skips the middle of Canada to show up again in Eastern Canada, and then into Maine in the mainland US. Sometimes this far Eastern Canadian and Maine type is called I. hookeri. In Alaska I. setosa is often very short, under one foot tall.

Iris setosa is also unusual in that the standards (the three upright petals) are so reduce... read more


On Sep 10, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Our Alaskan wild iris grow in meadows, bogs and long the edges of waterways. They can grow up to 2 feet tall and have swordlike leaves. The flowers grow on sturdy stocks and can be blue, purple, violet, and occasionally white. Wild Iris adapt well to the garden, but may need to be divided every few years.

Wild Iris may be started from stratified seed, but it takes years for them to develop in size. Division is the easiest and most expeditious method.