Species Iris, 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 madonna
Synonym:Iris majoricensis
» View all varieties of Iris


Species (SPEC)


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


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)

Belton, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Franklin, Texas

Iola, Texas

Kurten, Texas

Lampasas, Texas

Marquez, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Shepherd, Texas

Waxahachie, Texas

Willis, Texas

Lanexa, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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 th... read more


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.