Please try our next iteration of the Michigan Flora Online here. Beginning on February 1, 2023, will point to this new site.

The new site offers several benefits over the existing website, including real coordinate mapping, giving a clearer view of the density of documentation as well as more precision about plant distributions and their link to landforms. We will also have the ability to update species pages more regularly, both in terms of new collections and as more existing Michigan specimens are georeferenced. In addition, we have a better photo display, and offer indented keys.


Iris brevicaulis Raf. has been found in Essex Co., Ontario, and could occur in southernmost Michigan, It would resemble I. virginica somewhat, but have six-angled capsules and a ± zigzag stem. Many other Iris are cultivated to varying degrees and could escape.

1. Plants dwarf, the flowering stems less than 15 (usually less than 10) cm tall.

2. Sepals with a prominent beard above; rhizomes stout (much more than 5 mm thick).

I. pumila

2. Sepals beardless; rhizomes slender (less than 5 mm thick most of their length).

I. lacustris

1. Plants more than 15 cm tall.

3. Styles club-shaped, not concealing the stamens; sepals and petals alike; seeds round and shiny-black.

I. domestica

3. Style branches broad and petal-like, concealing the stamens; sepals and petals similar (the sepals larger, ± recurved, though petaloid in color and texture); seeds dull brown, flattened in common species.

4. Sepals with a prominent median beard above.

I. germanica

4. Sepals without a prominent beard, at most minutely pubescent.

5. Stems hollow; widest leaves 6–8 mm wide.

I. sibirica

5. Stems solid with spongy parenchyma; widest leaves often greater than 8 mm.

6. Flowers yellow; outer spathe bracts smooth; fully mature capsules pendant.

I. pseudacorus

6. Flowers blue (white in rare albinos), outer spathe bracts clearly mealy-papillose, especially apically (except in the rare escape Iris ×vinicolor); fully mature capsules erect (rarely somewhat spreading).

7. Sepals 2.5-5 cm wide; capsules six-angled; rare escape from cultivation.


7. Sepals 1.5-2.5 cm wide; capsules 3-angled; common native species.

8. Base of expanded portion of sepal with a bright yellow spot, finely pubescent with hairs as long as the thickness of the sepal; outer spathe bracts of uniform texture and color; seeds round to D-shaped, irregularly (but shallowly) pitted.

I. virginica

8. Base of expanded portion of sepal at most with a greenish yellow spot, with papillae shorter than thickness of the sepal; outer spathe bracts with the margins generally darker and more shiny than the rest of the dull surface; seeds D-shaped, with a ± regularly pebbled surface.

I. versicolor

All species found in Iris

Iris Ă—vinicolorLOUISIANA IRIS 
Iris domesticaBLACKBERRY-LILY 
Iris germanicaFLAG, FLEUR-DE-LYS 
Iris lacustrisDWARF LAKE IRIS 
Iris pseudacorusYELLOW FLAG 
Iris pumilaIRIS 
Iris sibiricaSIBERIAN IRIS 
Iris versicolorWILD BLUE FLAG 


MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. January 29, 2023.