Our Native Irises: Dwarf Woodland Irises
Iris lacustris: Dwarf Lake Iris
The dwarf lake iris occurs on the northern lakeshores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in Michigan, and Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
Iris lacustris has a sky blue to deep blue to violet flower. The spreading sepals have a white signal bordered by a deep purple color. The inflorescence is one- to rarely two-flowered. The stiff upright leaves arise from narrow, creeping rhizomes that have an enlarged terminus with fibrous roots.
Iris lacustris is found growing in slightly acidic, shallow, moist, sandy, or rocky soils in sun-dappled, forested openings near the lakeshore where cool air flows off the lake and into the openings providing for an unusual microclimate.
Iris lacustris is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Always rare, it has become rarer due to loss of habitat resulting from shoreline development.