Scientific Name:
Iris L., Sp. Pl. 38-40 (1753)
  • = Xiphion Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4. XI–XI 1st p (1754)
Vernacular Name(s):
Flag; Iris

Evergreen perennial, with rhizomes (sympodial), or bulbous. Leaves equitant, ensiform, distichous. Cyme shortly branched, few-flowered. Flowers pedicellate, large and showy, blue, violet, white or yellow, in clusters of 2 or more, (or solitary), terminal flowers within 2 spathe-valves, lateral within a single valve; tube bright green, usually short; segments (each consisting of broader "limb" and narrow basal "claw" or "haft") in 2 whorls; 3 outer (falls), usually reflexed or spreading, 3 inner (standards), usually erect and often incurved, or spreading. Stamens 3, inserted at base of outer segments. Style-branches broad, petaloid, ± deeply bifid at tip, curved over stamens and concealing them, stigma a small flap situated on underside of petaloid style-branch just below bifid "crest". Capsule coriaceous, ovoid-oblong. Seeds many, globular, ± compressed.

[From: Healy and Edgar (1980) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 3.]

Number of species in New Zealand within Iris L.
Exotic: Fully Naturalised6
Exotic: Casual5
Connor, H.E. 1977: The Poisonous Plants in New Zealand. Edition 2. Government Printer, Wellington.
Hobbs, J.; Hatch, T. 1994: Bulbs for New Zealand Gardens. Godwit Press, Auckland.
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Miller, P. 1754: The Gardeners Dictionary: ... Abridged from the last folio edition, by the author, Philip Miller, in three volumes. ...Fourth edition, corrected and enlarged. Edition 4. London.
Stewart, J. 1971: Plants in New Zealand Poisonous to Man. New Zealand Department of Health, Wellington.