Iris missouriensis

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Iris missouriensis
Iris missouriensis 9423.JPG
Iris missouriensis (Wenas Wildlife Area, Washington)
Scientific classification
I. missouriensis
Binomial name
Iris missouriensis
  • Iris arizonica Dykes
  • Iris haematophylla var. valametica Herb. ex Hook.
  • Iris longipetala var. montana Baker
  • Iris missouriensis f. alba H.St.John
  • Iris missouriensis var. albiflora Cockerell
  • Iris missouriensis f. angustispatha R.C.Foster
  • Iris missouriensis var. arizonica (Dykes) R.C.Foster
  • Iris missouriensis var. pelogonus (Goodd.) R.C.Foster
  • Iris missuriensis M.Martens
  • Iris montana Nutt. ex Dykes
  • Iris pariensis S.L.Welsh
  • Iris pelogonus Goodd.
  • Iris tolmieana Herb.
  • Limniris missouriensis (Nutt.) Rodion.[1]

Iris missouriensis (syn. I. montana) is a hardy flowering rhizomatous species of the genus Iris, in the family Iridaceae. Its common names include western blue flag, Rocky Mountain iris,[2] and Missouri flag.

It is native to western North America. Its distribution is varied; it grows at high elevations in mountains and alpine meadows and all the way down to sea level in coastal hills.[3][4]


The three, usually light blue, sepals have purple lines and surround the three smaller darker-blue petals.

Iris missouriensis is an erect herbaceous rhizomatous perennial, 20 to 40 cm high, with leafless unbranched scapes (flowering stems) and linear basal leaves, 5 to 10 mm wide, similar in height to the scapes. The inflorescence usually consists of one or two flowers, exceptionally three or four. Each flower has three light to dark blue, spreading or reflexed sepals lined with purple and three smaller upright blue petals.[5][6][7][8]


Some Plateau Indian tribes used the roots to treat toothache.[9]

The Navajo used a decoction of this plant as an emetic.[10] The Zuni apply a poultice of chewed root to increase strength of newborns and infants.[11]

This iris is listed as a weed in some areas, particularly in agricultural California. It is bitter and distasteful to livestock and heavy growths of the plant are a nuisance in pasture land. Heavy grazing in an area promotes the growth of this hardy iris.[7]

The plant is widely cultivated in temperate regions[12]


  1. ^ "Iris missouriensis Nutt. is an accepted name". 23 March 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  2. ^ Donald Wyman Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia, p. 576, at Google Books
  3. ^ Sullivan, Steven. K. (2015). "Iris missouriensis". Wildflower Search. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  4. ^ "Iris missouriensis". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  5. ^ Klinkenberg, Brian (Editor) (2014). "Iris missouriensis". E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Retrieved 2015-06-16.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Giblin, David (Editor) (2015). "Iris missouriensis". WTU Herbarium Image Collection. Burke Museum, University of Washington. Retrieved 2015-06-16.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b "Iris missouriensis". Jepson eFlora: Taxon page. Jepson Herbarium; University of California, Berkeley. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Hunn, Eugene S. (1990). Nch'i-Wana, "The Big River": Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. University of Washington Press. p. 354. ISBN 0-295-97119-3.
  10. ^ Peter Goldblatt. 1980. Uneven Diploid Chromosome Numbers and Complex Heterozygosity in Homeria (Iridaceae). Systematic Botany, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 337-340
  11. ^ Camazine, Scott and Robert A. Bye 1980 A Study Of The Medical Ethnobotany Of The Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2:365-388 (p. 373)
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Iris missouriensis". Retrieved 24 June 2013.

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