Ontario Wildflowers website

Blue Flag Iris
(Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) Other common names: American Blue Flag, Dagger Flower, Flag Lily, Larger Blue Flag, Multi-coloured Blue Flag, Northern Blue Flag, Poison Flag, Snake Lily, Water Flag

French names: Iris versicolore

Family: Iris Family (Iridaceae)

Group: Irises

Similar species:
  •   Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris) - Much smaller, grows in alvars.

  •   Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) - Larger, has showy yellow flowers.

  •   Common Cattail (Typha latifolia) - Lacks the showy blue flowers, much taller.

  •   Narrow-leaved Cattail (Typha angustifolia) - leaves are much narrower, much taller, lacks the showy blue flowers.

Flowers: Summer;  Blue/Violet;  3 parts (petals)

Leaves: Simple, Entire

Height: 30-80 cm (11-31 in)

Habitat: Wet Areas

Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun

Poisonous: Poisonous to eat.

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 120   

Native/Non-native: Native

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: : variously coloured


Photographs: 137 photographs available, of which 12 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris has showy blue flowers in late spring and early summer.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

When the flowers are done, the edges of the petals curl up.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris flower bud.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris seed capsule, ripening.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris ripe seed capsule split open to release its seeds.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Flag Iris seed capsules in winter - the seeds are all gone. This is on a northern lake in February.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

A nice clump of Blue Flag Iris in its watery environment.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Sometimes the young leaves will have a reddish-purple tinge to them.

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

A nice clump of Blue Flag Iris at the edge of a marsh.


Range map for Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)