Our Native Irises: Louisiana Irises

Graphic of an iris on a rainbow circular background.

The Louisiana Irises occur in the lower Mississippi River valley from southern Illinois and southeast Missouri into the Gulf coastal plain, and Atlantic coastal plain north from Florida to South Carolina. Their unique six-sided seed capsules and their red, copper red, lemon yellow, and deep blue flower coloration characterize them.

There are five species and three varieties of Louisiana Irises. Four of the species and one of the varieties occur on national forests within their range: zigzag iris (Iris brevicaulis), copper iris (Iris fulva), giant blue iris (Iris giganticaerulea), Dixie iris (Iris hexagona var. hexagona, and Abbeville red iris (Iris nelsonii). The Abbeville red iris does not occur on any national forests and has a very restricted range.

zigzag iris, Iris brevicaulis.
Zigzag Iris (Iris brevicaulis)

Copper Iris, Iris fulva.
Copper Iris (Iris fulva)

Giant Blue Iris, Iris giganticaerulea.
Giant Blue Iris (Iris giganticaerulea)

Dixie Iris, Iris hexagona.
Dixie Iris (Iris hexagona)