Iris, Wild Blue (Iris missouriensis)Regular price $3.98
Also known as Rocky Mountain Iris, this charming perennial flower will put off blossoms from spring into mid-summer. The Wild Blue Iris is native to western North America, with a distribution ranging from high mountain elevations to sea-level. Iris missouriensis much resembles the domesticated Iris in miniature (as it is the forebearer of this cultivated variety). This plant is ideal for meadows or woodland garden edges, and will quickly spread to form small clusters, brigades of dazzling pale blue faces that hummingbirds adore. Though they will flourish in a pasture setting, cattle will be none too thrilled, as they find the striking gray-green leaves of this plant bitter and tough. Their delicate blue veins guide pollinator friends such as bumblebees, large carpenter bees, and sometimes flies or moths towards their nectar source.
The genus Iris emerges from the Greek goddess of the same title, who personified the rainbow and acted as a messenger between the heavens and earth. The specific epithet missouriensis refers not to the state of Missouri, but the river— botanist Thomas Nuttall cited this flower as “towards the sources of the Missouri” in 1834. Though Iris missouriensis is considered toxic, various Indigenous tribes of the Plateau regions used the root to treat toothaches, with the Paiute and Shoshone tribes applying the plant for this purpose too, and for treatment of gonorrhea. The Zuni people applied a poultice of chewed up roots to increase the strength of newborn children. Fiber made from the plant is thought to have been used to fabricate nets and rope.