Our Native Irises: Pacific Coast Irises

Iris douglasiana: Douglas Iris

The Douglas iris occurs in a narrow strip of approximately 750 miles from southern Oregon to northern California.

Map of the range of Iris douglasiana in California.
Range map of Iris douglasiana in California. Courtesy of the USDA PLANTS Database.

Map of the range of Iris douglasiana in Oregon.
Range map of Iris douglasiana in Oregon. Courtesy of the USDA PLANTS Database.

Iris douglasiana flowers are a variety of hues from purplish-red, light lavender, blue, creamy white, and all the potential shades in between. The sepals are widely spreading, upright, and then arching downward. The signal is a yellow to white with blue or purple veins. The petals are spreading and upright, shorter and slightly narrower than the sepals. The inflorescence has eight to nine flowers appearing in two- to three-flowered units. The flowering stalk is generally shorter than the attending leaves. The yellowish-green to dark green leaves are stiff and upright, basal with a deep reddish base, from shallowly rooted, freely branching rhizomes that can form large colonies.

Three pictures of Iris douglasiana. Iris douglasiana hotspot Iris douglasiana hotspot Iris douglasiana hotspot In this series of Iris douglasiana photos the diversity of color forms is remarkable. Note the venation and presence of signal patches to guide pollinators. Left: Photos © Kenneth Walker. Right: Photo © Ferrell. Courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

Iris douglasiana.
A small colony of Iris douglasiana in a sunlit opening is a treat to come upon when one is out hiking on the national forests. Photo by John McRae, U.S. Forest Service.

Iris douglasiana is commonly found growing in open woods, rocky outcrops, sunny slopes and fields.

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