Our Native Irises: Louisiana Irises

Iris brevicaulis: Zigzag Iris

The zigzag iris occurs from Ohio southwest to Nebraska, south to Texas, east to Florida and north to Kentucky.

Iris brevicaulis.
The typical blue color of Iris brevicaulis. Photo by Rodney Barton, North American Native Iris.

Map of the range of Iris brevicaulis in North America.
Range map of Iris brevicaulis. Courtesy of the USDA PLANTS Database.

Iris brevicaulis.
As with all of the Louisiana irises, the myriad of colors encountered are enchanting as with this unusual violet color. Photo Thomas G. Barnes, University of Kentucky.

Iris brevicaulis has a bluish-purple to light bluish-violet flower and rarely occurs as a white form. The sepals are widely spreading and arching downward. The signal is triangular, whitish-yellow to whitish green patch and occurs basally on the sepal. The petals are spreading perpendicularly to slightly ascending and are smaller than the sepals. The inflorescence is multi-flowered on a ziz-zag stem with two terminal flowers and is hidden down among the leaves. The bright green leaves are lax and arching, arising from shallowly rooted, branching rhizomes that can form large colonies.

Iris brevicaulis is commonly found growing in swamps and wet meadows.

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