Species X Iris, Louisiana Iris, Abbeville Red Iris, Abbeville Swamp Iris

Iris x nelsonii

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: x nelsonii
Synonym:Limniris x nelsonii
» View all varieties of Iris
View this plant in a garden


Louisiana (LA)

Species (SPEC)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (red-purple)


Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Midseason (M)




Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Tucson, Arizona

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Pensacola, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Ainaloa, Hawaii

Elkhart, Indiana

Coushatta, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Maurepas, Louisiana

Springfield, Louisiana

Germantown, Maryland

White Lake, Michigan

Madison, Mississippi

Greensboro, North Carolina

Eugene, Oregon

Lebanon, Tennessee

Belton, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 15, 2009, lilybob from Longmont, CO wrote:

I have just come in from admiring a deep purple Lousiana Iris in our back yard. Bought in Austin Tex; struggled here in Denver, Co area for 3 years; but flourishing this year. They like acid, but our soil in alkaline. Anyone else out there have luck in zone 5b? Alkaline soils? Lillybob


On Mar 15, 2006, Margiempv from Oro Valley, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

A smaller flowered Louisiana specimen with big impact! The Abbevilles vary in height of growth about two feet to possibly four feet. Absolutely breathtaking in clumps.

The flowers of this group of iris have thick leathery almost overlapping petals and sepals of varying size and shape.

Examination of early registrations indicate that relatively few registered Louisiana iris were anything but collected species or their hybrids. In other words, breeding of Louisiana iris had not really made a start prior to the times these Abbevilles were found.

Evidence of the significance of this group of iris can be obtained from the study of the pedigees since the discovery of the Abbevilles.

In conclusion, it appears that it was the Abbevil... read more


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

Often called 'Abbeville Irises,' these unique red irises were found in the wild in 1938 by W. B. MacMillanm growing in a very small area South of Abbeville, in South Louisiana, and their discovery is considered "the single most important discovery during the period of collecting" of Louisiana iris--from "The Louisiana Iris, The Taming of a Native American Wildflower" second edition by The Society of Louisiana Irises. The species was named after Ira S. "Ike" Nelson, professor of horticulture at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and one of the founders, and early show managers, of The Society for Louisiana Irises. The first show was held in 1942. Nelson collaborated with Lowell Fitz Randolph, a professor of Botany at Cornell, and together they identified I. nelsonii, and Randolph na... read more


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

One of the parents of the 'Louisiana Iris', this iris seems to be itself a true-breeding, natural hybrid of I. fulva, I. brevicaulis and I. giganticaerulea. It was found and identified in Abbeville, Louisiana.

Along with I. fulva, this species was heavily exported to Europe because of its ease of interbreeding and its red colors. Both species were nearly wiped out of their native range, but have nicely recovered.

Does well in gardens far out of its native habitat, and quite usefull in ponds and gardens for Spring blooms. Foliage grows beginning in Fall and usually dies back in the Summer.

Attracts hummers and bees. Grown easily from seed.