Our Native Irises: Pacific Coast Irises

Iris munzii: Munz's Iris

Munz’s Iris is endemic to the southern Sierra Nevada foothills in Tulare County, California.

Iris munzii.
Munz’s iris displaying a typical lavender color with a narrow yellow signal. The Munz’s iris to the lower left is a very pale lavender, once again displaying the variation in color forms that the Pacific coast irises display. Photo courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

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

Iris munzii flowers are pale blue to lavender to purple. The sepals are moderately upright and then arching downward with prominent deep yellow, blue to purple to violet veins. The petals are upright and slightly spreading, shorter and narrower than the sepals, similar in coloration. The inflorescence has two to four flowers. The flowering stalk is much longer than the attending leaves. The leaves are green to grayish green upright, slightly reflexed, and basal with a green base, from branching rhizomes with fibrous roots occurring in large clumps.

Iris munzii.
This beautiful specimen of Munz’s iris has sepals that are lavender along the outer edges with an unusual narrow band of blue in the center leading to the yellow signal. Notice how the veins change color from a light violet to a dark blue as they merge towards the yellow signal. Photo by Carol Zeigler.

Iris munzii.
This Munz’s iris displays a light violet color form with a prominent white signal and darker violet veins. Photo courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

small colony of Munz's iris in a sunny opening in an oak woodland.
A small colony of Munz’s iris in a sunny opening in an oak woodland. Photo courtesy Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

Iris munzii is found growing in shady openings in blue oak woodlands.

Conservation Concern

Iris munzii is ranked as imperiled (G2): 6 to 20 populations or 1,000 to 3,000 individuals or 2,000 to 10,000 acres.

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