Our Native Irises: Blue Flag Irises

Graphic of an iris on a rainbow circular background.

The Blue Flag Irises occur throughout the United States, from Iris setosa in Alaska, to Iris missouriensis throughout the western states, to Iris versicolor and Iris virginica throughout the eastern states, and Iris tridentata in the southeastern states. Their conspicuous pale blue to deep blue-violet flower coloration characterizes them.

There are five species and two varieties of Blue Flag Irises. All of the species and varieties occur on national forests within their range. This artificial grouping includes two irises where the petals are highly reduced: Iris setosa and Iris tridentata. These irises are generally found occurring in large colonies in typical wetland habitats.

western blue flag iris.
Western Blue Flag Iris (Iris missouriensis)

Wild Flag Iris, Iris setosa.
Wild Flag Iris (Iris setosa)

Savannah Iris, Iris tridentata.
Savannah Iris (Iris tridentata)

Harlequin Blue Flag Iris, Iris versicolor.
Harlequin Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Iris vvirginica var. virginica.
Southern Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica var. virginica)