Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor

Current Demand = GOOD
Demand: Poor – Normal – Good

Parts Used: Rhizome and Root
Current Market Price = $ varies/lb.

Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor
Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor

Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor

Family: Iridaceae

Common names: american blue flag, dragon flower, flag lily, harlequin blueflag, liver lily, poison flag, water flag , water iris….


Iris versicolor is a perennial herb, usually 10-80 centimeter. high with roots in thick spreading clumps from thick, creeping rhizomes. The unwinged, erect sword-shaped stems generally have basal leaves that are more than 1 cm wide. Leaves are folded on the midribs so that they form an overlapping flat fan. The well developed blue flower has 6 petals and sepals spread out nearly flat and have two forms. The longer sepals are hairless and have a greenish-yellow blotch at their base. The inferior ovary is bluntly angled. Flowers are usually light to deep blue (purple and violet are not uncommon) and bloom during May to July. Fruit is a 3-celled, bluntly angled capsule. The large seeds can be observed floating in fall.


Part used: rhizome and root

After harvest, remove all foreign matter (rocks, weeds and other roots) and spread in a thin layer immediately. When possible dry indoors in a well ventilated barn loft or attic to protect from the elements. If natural heat is not available you may need to add heat and a fan for continuous airflow. Whether you dry indoors or outdoors you will need to turn or stir the roots daily.

The key to drying any root, herb or bark is an even combination of heat and airflow. Never dry in an oven or microwave. They can be completely dry (largest stem will snap not bend) in 3-7 days depending on the drying conditions. Once it is dried place the roots carefully into a cardboard box or paper bag for storage in a dry area until you are ready to sell or use. Never store the tubers/roots in plastic or it can mold.


This Iris is a hardy species of Iris native to North America where it is common in sedge meadows, marshes, and along streambanks and shores from deep in Canada to Florida.

By seed: in spring, the Blue Flag Iris prefers sunlight and moist sandy soil or peat moss. In the early spring is usually better than the fall.

By rhizome (root) division: pretty much any size groups can be cut from the parent root system. Planted or potted.

Parts Used: dried rhizome and roots

Attribution Images

By D. Gordon E. Robertson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons