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Iris, A Beautiful
Spring Flower

Interesting Facts about Irises

Group of Purple Irises

Multi Colored Irises
  • The word Iris means rainbow. It was named after the Goddess of the rainbow because Irises come in many colors.
  • The iris has been the symbol of France as far back as the 6th century AD. It became known as the "fleur-de-lis" or flower of Louis, in honor of the kings of France.
  • The iris is the state flower of Tennessee. It's also the national emblem of France.
  • Iris Flowers are associated with twenty fifth wedding anniversary

Historical Facts about the Iris

In Ancient Greek times the Greek Goddess Iris was the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow. She acted as the link between heaven and earth and guided women on their journey to the Elysian Fields. Purple irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the Goddess to guide the dead in their journey.

The ancient Greeks believed the Iris protected them from evil spirits. Iris was a messenger of the Gods who guides the souls of women and girls into the afterworld. Even today, many Greeks place the Iris on the graves of women.

Purple Iris

During the Middle Ages, the meaning of irises became linked to the French monarchy, and the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the recognized national symbol of France. Joan of Arch carried a white banner that illustrated the flower when she led French troops to victory over the English. The iris was so powerful a symbol of the French kings that during the French Revolution in 1789, revolutionaries set out to totally destroy this symbol of the hated monarchy. It was chipped off buildings and torn from draperies. Men were guillotined for wearing a fleur-de-lis on their clothes or as jewelry.

During the Renaissance, when there was very little cleanliness in England, orris root (the root of some species of iris) was used as a perfume for linen and was lifted to the nose to combat the oror. Orris root was steeped in wash water to give clothing a pleasant smell and was added to the wigs worn by French and English aristocracy.

Meaning of the Iris

Maroon Irises

Irises have many meaning attached to it. Some of them are as follows:
  • Your friendship means so much to me, faith, hope
  • The flower symbolism associated with the iris is faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love, wisdom.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers, the iris signifies a "message."
  • The Iris symbolize intelligence, competence, and independence.
  • Giving someone an iris says "Your friendship means a lot to me."
  • Iris, Blue: Faith, hope
  • Iris, Purple: Wisdom, compliments
  • Iris, Yellow: Passion
  • Iris, White: Purity

Quotes about Irises

Blue Irises

"In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove; In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest,
Who, armed with golden rod
And winged with the celestial azure, bearest
The message of some God." -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Iris

What's the matter,
That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye? -- William Shakespeare

Types of Irises

Yellow Irises

Rhizome Irises
Rhizome irises have thickened stems that grow horizontally, either underground or partially underground. They produce swordlike leaves that overlap, forming flat fans of green foliage. Three popular irises in this group: Bearded, Beardless and Crested. These plants spread freely by underground stems.

Bulb Irises
Bulb irises can be planted in either fall or spring. All bulb irises are beardless and will bloom from late winter through mid-summer

Tips on Growing Irises

Group of Purple Irises
  • Irises need good drainage and partial shade.
  • When transplanting, the roots, or Rhizomes, should be separated. Make sure to have some root and a leaf or two in each section.
  • Place the rhizome spacing them 8 to 18 inches apart
  • Make hole about 10 inches deep and work 1 tablespoonful of fertilizer into the soil in the bottom of the hole.
  • The root section should not be covered more than 1 inch deep.
  • Most Beardless Irises can be also propagated from seed

Care of Cut Irises

Iris in Vase
  • Irises are delicate flowers, and have one of the shortest cut flower vase lives at just 3-6 days
  • Remove foliage that will fall below the water line and re-cut iris stem before placing them in a vase
  • Keep irises in a cool location away from drafts and excessive heat
  • Replace water every day.

Links to Iris Societies

White Irises
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Gifts for the
Iris Lover

Many Other Iris Designs and Products Available


Please send questions or comments to: sue@designsbysusan.com

Copyright © 2007-2011 Susan Savad