TYPES OF IRIS
Irises have a long history and a special place in the world of flowers. Iris is the largest genus of the family Iridaceae with 310 recognised species – many of which are natural hybrids. The Iris name comes from the Greek word "rainbow". Iris is the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbows. With thousands of cultivars or varieties is a very appropriate name for these stunning colourful plants. It is believed the iris flower symbolises faith, courage, valour, hope and wisdom. and it is a symbol of love and trust.
We are lucky to have a range of iris available in Australia to ensure you can find an iris type to thrive in your garden environment, even in those with wet conditions or in gardens with extreme heat and dryness. Irises are known for their hardiness and wonderful spring display in the garden landscape. Irises are suitable for including in flower arrangements and are a source of perfume ingredients and herbal medicines.
Irises are commonly divided into two groups "Bearded" and "Beardless".
Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) with rhizomes and a fluffy "beard". The "beard" (short hairs arranged to look like a long furry caterpillar) is found toward the back of the lower petals. Its purpose is to guide pollinating insects toward the reproductive parts of the plant.
Most of us are very familiar with the bearded irises however there are many different species of "Beardless" irises the most well known are the “The Louisianas”, The Pacific Coast Irises or Californian Irises. There are also evergreen beardless irises which are generally small, compact plants with slender, wiry rhizomes, with narrow grass-like leaves.
Many iris species reproduce by rhizomes however there are some that have bulbs instead (bulbous iris) the most common of which is the Dutch Iris.