Synonym: Iris Minor.
Habitat: Iris tenax is native to southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon.. It occurs along roadsides and in grasslands and forest openings at low to middle elevations. One subspecies is also known from northern California.
Like most irises, it has large and showy flowers. The flowers bloom in mid to late spring and are usually lavender-blue to purple, but blooms in white, yellow, pink, and orchid shades are known to sometimes occur. The leaves are very slender for an iris, seldom over 5 mm broad; the plant is often mistaken for a type of grass when not in bloom. Its rhizomes spread slowly, causing the plant to grow in a tight clump.
Its species name (tenax) means “tough” or “tenacious” and is in reference to the strong, fibrous leaves of the plant, which were used by indigenous peoples for braiding into snares and other cordage.
A tincture of the whole plant, or of the bulbous stems, is given in bilious vomiting, and is recommended for depression.
The American Indians use the fibres of this plant for making ropes.
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