Iris flower facts

Irises are popular blooms and they are a top choice among gardeners as well as florists. This flower was named after Iris, the Greek goddess and they produce a variety of colours. The only colour that you will not find is bright red. Here are some more iris flower facts.

Six lobes to each flower

Each flower has six lobes. Three lobes are located in the interior with three around the exterior. The inner lobes are usually smaller than the outer ones. The outer lobes are also normally green. There, however, some irises that produce six colourful lobes of the same size.

Two main groups

There are two main groups of irises. They are classified according to their root systems – rhizomes or bulbs. The rhizome variety is also divided into beardless, bearded and crested varieties. The bearded variety has hairs along the centre of the lobes around the exterior. The beardless obviously have no hairs. While the crested irises have a structure that resembles a comb instead of hairs.


The Yellow Flag Iris is native to North Africa, Europe and Asia. This particular variety enjoys wet environments so you will likely find it growing around ponds or lakes. One of the most impressive iris flower facts is that this variety can grow up to five feet tall! They usually only reach three feet but, if the circumstances are right, more stem growth can occur. This type of iris is used to make dyes. That said, it does contain toxic properties which means that it’s not safe for consumption and if you touch the root of the plant, it can result in skin irritation. This plant grows aggressively and, for this reason, many regions even call it a pest.

Interesting roots

Orris roots are a type of rhizome and they are produced by some types of irises. They have a similar smell to violets and the root takes three years to dry out before we notice a scent. This root can be ground into a powder. The powder is then steam distilled to create an essential oil and harness the amazing fragrance. This oil, also called orris butter, is added to some perfumes, cosmetics and it can even be added to gin. The root has many benefits but further testing is required to establish how accurate past findings have been.

One of the most important iris flower facts of all is that the toxic effects of the flower differ from person to person. It depends on how sensitive you are to histamines. The good news is that they do not pose a major risk and, for the most part, it’s the rhizomes that are the most toxic part. That said, if you have children or pets, you should take extra special care that they do not ingest these plants.