Our Native Irises: Pacific Coast Irises

Iris fernaldii: Fernald’s Iris

Fernald’s iris occurs in the central California coastal ranges.

Iris fernaldii.
The more typical yellow form of Iris fernaldii with very light venation. Photo © Kenneth Walker, courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

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

Iris fernaldii flowers range from creamy white or a rich to pale yellow, rarely light lavender. The sepals are moderately upright and then arching downward with darker yellow prominent veins and a yellow signal. The petals are upright and slightly spreading, shorter and narrower than the sepals, similar in coloration. The inflorescence has one or two flowers. The flowering stalk is shorter than the attending leaves. The leaves are dark grayish green, basal with an intensely red colored base, and upright to slightly flexing, from branching rhizomes with fibrous roots, occurring as dense, compact clumps.

Iris fernaldii.
This specimen of Iris fernaldii shows its rarer lavender color form. Note the distinctive yellow signal and light purple venation. Photo © Kenneth Walker, courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

Iris fernaldii.
The venation of this Iris fernaldii is a faint purple with a darker yellow central line leading to the signal patch. Photo © Kenneth Walker, courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

Iris fernaldii is found growing in shady woodlands.

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