Iris brevicaulis

zigzag iris, blue flag, lamance iris


Leaf Arrangement

alternate, equitant, basal (rosulate)

Leaf Margin


Leaf Type

cauline, simple

Leaf Shape


Growth Form

forb, emergent aquatic, aquatic

Flower Color

blue, purple, white, yellow

Flower Month

March - June

Height (meters)

0.4 - 0.6

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Cool season

Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Zigzag stem usually shorter than its leaves. Flower below the leaves.

Cultural Information

Collect the capsules when they begin to turn brown (usually in July) and plant seeds immediately for best germination. Seeds stored dry in cold storage, or allowed to ripen to maturity on the plant, enter dormancy and often require 2 years to germinate. Steffen (1994) recommends cold/moist stratification to break dormancy. Plant outdoors in a moist bed in shade or semi-shade, then transplant when seedlings produce fans. Seeds should be planted approximately 1/2" deep. Stored seeds should be scarified by chipping the seed coat at hilum end (point where the seed was attached to the seed pod). Divisions of the rhizomes can be made in late summer or fall. Plant the pieces of rhizome under 1/2" of soil.

Natural History

All of our native irises were called "fleur-de-lis" by the Acadians of south Louisiana (Holmes 1990). The name literally means flower of Louis and dates back to France where a white iris was used in the coat-of-arms of King Louis. One of the complex of Iris' called Louisiana Iris, Iris brevicaulis is found in swamps, wet meadows, damp woods, marshes and bottomlands of Louisiana and east Texas. It ranges from Alabama to Texas and north to Ontario.


Swamps, wet meadows, damp woods, marshes along ponds and ditches, bottomlands, moist sites along wooded margins.